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  • Ethiopia is divided ethnically and the Oromo and Somali people have been at odds for years.

    Ethiopia is divided ethnically and the Oromo and Somali people have been at odds for years. | Photo: AFP FILE

Published 26 September 2017

Officials from the Oromia region were allegedly arrested and killed on Sept. 11, provoking protests by the Oromos.

Hundreds of Ethiopians have died as a result of clashes between ethnic groups, the government has said.

Ethiopia Rejects UN Investigation over Protest Deaths

A spokesman for the government, Negeri Lencho, placed some of the blame for the fighting between the Oromo and Somali peoples – two of the largest ethnic groups – on land disputes.

“We can say hundreds of the Oromo ethnicity were killed... and there were also deaths from the Somali side, we don't know exactly how many,” Negeri said in a press conference on Monday.

Negeri claims that officials from the Oromia region were arrested and killed on Sept. 11, provoking protests by the Oromos – who have pointed fingers at the special police.

Security personnel has since subdued border clashes between the two ethnic groups, according to Negeri.

The Oromo and Somali people have battled for years over arable land along their shared border.

Anti-government protests that started in late 2015, only ended when parliament declared a nationwide state of emergency in October 2016.

In April, the presidents of the two regions signed an agreement to settle the unrest.

A report from Human Rights Watch alleged that the Liyu police was responsible for the deaths of at least 21 people last year.

Though the Somali region had few protests, it has suffered catastrophic drought conditions that have forced 8.5 million Ethiopians to seek emergency food assistance.

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