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Afar rocked by deadly violence

In a fresh round of violence that erupted this week four people are said to have lost their lives and 13 severely injured in what was a relatively calm region: the Afar Regional State, The Reporter has learnt.

According to source from the area, the clash which erupted in a place called Endefo–a small Kebele along the border of Afar and Somali Regional States – involved a group of armed individuals and a Special Police of the Afar Regional States.

The clash was preceded by a public protest in the kebele a week ago, at which time the public was raising demands for a better administration and infrastructure in the area. Furthermore, sources say that there were also questions of inclusion under the Somali Regional states.

The small kebele – which belongs to Afar Regional State – in addition to other ethnic groups, is also inhabited by Issa Somalis.

During the protests, there were attempts by groups to take down the flag of the Afar Regional State and replace it with Somali Region’s flag, a resident of Endefeo told The Reporter.

It was after this that the clash began, probably around midnight on December 25, 2018.

The Special Police Force of the Afar Regional State clashed with the armed individuals in the kebele escalating the situation and causing the damages.

Following this, the road which passes thorough the small kebele and connecting the Tigray Regional State as well as Djibouti with the rest of Ethiopia was closed for hours, Abdi Bouh, deputy head of Agriculture Bureau at Endefo told The Reporter. It was on the next day that the road was opened for cars.

According to Abdi, the tension in the area is still high where the security situation might deteriorate. However, federal police and the Ethiopian Defense Forces are currently monitoring the situation in the Kebele and to deter another eruption of violence. 

It is to be recalled that just a couple of months ago, the ruling party of the region–Afar National Democratic Party—replaced the a other long serving president of the region (next to Ismael Ali Sero) Haji Seyoum with Awol Areba. In addition, the party has also appointed Ayesha Mohammed (Eng.), Minister of Defense, to be the chairman of the party.