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Etenesh Abera

Addis Abeba, May 08/2018 – The Secretariat of the command post established to oversee the current state of emergency said in a statement that the weekend clashes in Moyale town were large in proportion and have inflicted serious causalities and property damages. The statement also said there has been an increase in illegal arms trafficking in the country.

Without mentioning the number of casualties and the amount of damages, the statement, released to the media this morning, said the weekend violence in Moyale town was perpetrated by “two different sides” by “organized clandestine groups.”  The statement also refrained from mentioning the two groups it said were involved. But according to interviews given by locals to Addis Standard, the clashes, which began on Sunday at around 10:30 AM local time and lasted through the day, were between two ethnic communities, the Garre of Somali origins and the Oromo.

Quoting its sources, Wazema Radio, an online podcast broadcasted in Amharic, said up to sixteen people, possibly more, were killed. The radio also said the Garre ethnic groups were getting easy access to weapons from neighboring Somalia, increasing the frequency of cross border attacks inside the Borena zone of the Oromia regional state. However, locals also blame the involvement by members of the controversial Liyu Police from the Ethiopian Somali regional state in playing a role in increasing both the frequency and the intensity of clashes in recent months.

The command post said the situation in Moyale was calming and that members of the army under the command post were working with the people in the area to apprehend the perpetrators.

Illegal arms trafficking

The statement from  the secretariat of the command post further said that illegal arms trafficking has increased in the country and that it “plays a significant role” in fueling continued violence both in Moyale town and other parts of the country. During the month of April, military members of the command post have confiscated a total of 142 Ak-47 guns, 11 hand grenades, 88 pistols as well as 17 ancient armaments with guns from various parts of the country, according to the statement.

Ethiopia’s former council of ministers declared the current state of emergency on Feb 16, a day after the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The ruling party controlled parliament has subsequently approved the emergency decree for six months. AS

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