Why 2017 was a tough year for Ethiopia (APA)

It has been a year of deadly demonstrations and ethnic skirmishes in Ethiopia, making 2017 a tough year for the country.Hundreds of people were killed in clashes between residents of Oromo in the eastern part of the country where the government imposed a three-month state of emergency.

Government and Communication Affairs Minister, Negeri Lencho said the exact figure of those who died in several months of unrest is yet to be ascertained.

“We can say that hundreds of members of the Oromo ethnic group were killed and there were also deaths on the Somalis. We do not know exactly how many died” Negeri said.

The federal government has since taken over security in the restive region and ordered a probe into rights abuses that may have occurred.

Addis Ababa has also moved to help ease the humanitarian crisis that followed the displacement.

The area has been plagued by sporadic clashes for decades.

A referendum held in 2004 to determine the status of disputed settlements failed to ease tensions.

Another cause of the tensions is pinned on issues around resource control due to the agricultural leaning of both regions.

“The clashes between members of Oromia and Somali ethnic groups were caused by some forces which wanted to gain economic and political benefits through controlling the Khat trade route where millions of dollar is also smuggled.” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on the occasion of the reopening of the parliament after the summer recess three months ago.

Towards the end of November of this year, 20 Somalis were killed and the federal government spokesperson announced that 98 people were arrested from Oromo region of Ethiopia and five were arrested from Somali region of Ethiopia.

Very recently, it is learned that Member of Parliaments (MPs) from Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromia regions have boycotted parliament.

They claimed there is no point in parliament meeting until Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn gives an explanation for ongoing ethnic clashes in the country.

Ethiopia also suffered from food insecurity due to prolonged drought, prompting the government to issue an international call for help to feed over 15 million people threatened by starvation.

Filed in: Current Affairs / News