War Clouds in the Somali Afar Border
For the last four months, the border situation between Somali and Afar border has been worsening. Afar armed militias had been consistently attacking Somali border towns and villages killing and looting Somalis. Yesterday, armed Afar state militias attacked the town of Madan killing 13 men and wounding several others. In this particular incident, the Ethiopian national army disarmed the rural population in the area during last week and the Afar militia knowing this took advantage of the situation and undertook this campaign of killing, looting and burning Somali villages.
In September 2014, TPLF forced the Somali Regional State leader to turn over three Somali towns to the Afar state jurisdiction without the consent of the local Somali people. At that time the Somali people were victimized because of the war in the Somali region and TPLF decision to fan civil wars among Somalis and their neighbors in order to defeat the popular resurrection against its rule. This war of attrition against Somalis escalated after the change of leadership in Ethiopia.
When the TPLF regime lost hegemony of EPRDF rule, The Somali people requested justice and to reunite with their representative Somali Regional state. This angered the Afars and their regional state, who triggered harassments and reprisals against the Somali people on the Afar Somali border and this has been ongoing with many Somalis losing their lives.
The issue has reached a stage where the conflict is turning into total war between Somalis and Afars which could engulf the whole of the two regions in an unnecessary conflict that is currently manageable.
Another unacceptable issue is that the Ethiopian National army, which is supposed to be neutral, and protect all peoples in Ethiopia is always impartial when it comes to conflicts involving Somalis and others and that is reinforces the feeling of alienation and marginalization Somalis always feel.
ONLF strongly condemns the killing of innocent 13 Somali men by Afar state militias and requests the perpetrators to face justice.
ONLF also calls upon the Federal government and the two respective regional government to start addressing this conflict by reversing the decision of transferring the three Somali districts to Afar State, and by creating mechanisms to stop any further violence.
In addition ONLF calls upon the elders, political organizations and intellectuals to start direct dialogue and address the conflict.
Finally, ONL Sends it condolences to victims and their families and calls for all stakeholders to avert any further loss of life from both nations.