Renewed violence along the border areas of Gedeo and West Guji zones since early June 2018 has led to the displacement of over 642,152 IDPs in Gedeo zone of SNNPR region and 176,098 IDPs in West Guji zone of Oromia region. 

By George Obulutsa (Reuters) |

NAIROBI―Violence in southern Ethiopia since June has forced more than 800,000 people to flee their homes and they need food and other aid, a report by the United Nations and the government said on Wednesday.

The inter-ethnic violence erupted in April around 400 km (250 miles) south of the capital and in all more than 1.2 million people have been forced to flee, said the report that gave no details of casualties.

“Renewed violence along the border areas of Gedeo and West Guji zones since early June … has led to the displacement of over 642,152 IDP’s (internally displaced persons) in Gedeo zone … and 176,098 IDP’s in West Guji zone of Oromia region.” the report said.

Traditional leaders encouraged the movement of people back to their homes after the initial fighting in April but many have fled again in June, the report said.

“The security situation has been challenging despite the deployment of the Ethiopian Defense Forces in the area, with reports of continued destruction of houses, other assets and service infrastructure,” it read.

The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners have released a Response Plan to address fresh internal displacement around Gedeo (SNNPR) and West Guji (Oromia) Zones. The Appeal prioritizes life-saving support for over 818,000 men, women and children displaced as a result of inter-communal violence that has escalated since early June 2018. The Appeal requires US$118 million for the coming six months to urgently scale-up assistance to the displaced people who are mostly settled with already food insecure relatives or residing in cramped public buildings. The influx has seen near-doubling of district populations in some areas that, even prior to the crisis, were one of the most densely populated parts of the country, with around 1,000 people per square kilometer.U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (22 June 2018)

Ethiopia is an ethnically diverse country of 100 million people and ethnic discontent helped fuel protests that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April and has pledged political and economic reforms to address complaints of marginalization by a number of ethnic groups including his own group, the Oromos.

Diplomats told Reuters that more than 200 people were killed during last month’s but said the figure was an estimate because a lack of security made confirmation impossible.

The fighting is one of several ethnic conflicts fueled by grievances over land in Ethiopia, Africa’s second largest country by population.

Continue reading this story at Reuters
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