Sixteen people, including children, killed in Ethiopia’s Afar region after armed attacks, several wounded

4 mins read

Addis Standard

Seventeen people were killed and more than 30 wounded in Ethiopia’s Afar regional state after attacks by armed men in attack last week on Friday and Saturday, Kontie Moussa, (PhD), Afar People’s Party Chairman, told Addis Standard.

The attacks occurred in Afambo wereda, Obno Kebele, near the border with Djibouti in the east and Somali regional state in the south.

According to Dr Kontie, “16 civilians were killed and 35 were wounded, including children and women” by militants during the attack. He blamed Somali Region State’s Special Force as well as plain clothes armed men from Djibouti.

Dr. Konties’s statement about the armed men from Djibouti was corroborated by Hussein Ali, administrator of the Wereda, in an interview with BBC Amharic. Hussein also said that several domestic animals were also killed and properties vandalized.

In addition to Hussein Ali, Afar regional state communication bureau head Ahmed Kaloita also tsaid that the attackers were armed men from Djibouti who were equipped with machine guns.

Colonel Tesfaye Ayalew, Head of the Office of Deputy Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Defense, denied reports of armed men who crossed from Djibouti. “The news circulated over the social media that said to be Djiboutian armed forces have crossed Ethiopian border and inflicted detrimental acts on citizens through Afar is a sham,” he told the Ethiopian News Agency.

However, Dr Kontie said Afar People’s Party said the party “condemns the aggression supported by these forces. We appeal to the federal government to intervene and bring peace to both communities,” he said.

In a twitter post published yesterday, The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said that the Somali-Afar boarder was a “thorn in the establishment of peace in Ethiopia,” and added that “blaming each other and fanning the war will not serve both communities.”

Three of the victims were children while four of them were women, Ahmed Umed, Afar regional state Crime prevention department deputy commissioner told the state broadcaster.  Civilians who are injured are receiving medical treatment in Dubti general hospital.

The reason for the attack was not immediately established and the perpetrators are at large as of this reporting. However, Hussein said documents and material material evidences recovered from the attack scenes reveal the identities of the attackers.



  1. For those who had lived through such cruel raids like me may ask the questions ‘still?’ ‘Even in this year and age?’. As far as I can remember the instigators of such senseless killing are rogue elements on both sides. At one time it could be such elements from the Afar clans and many times from the Issa clans. At one point for all intents and purposes the entire nomadic clans of the Issa clans had stopped coming to towns on market days and taken to the woods. When I was a young boys the Afars used to come to market days at railway station from Bordode, Afdem(Aware) and Mieso. They brought all their honey dipped butter, hides and a few other products and they buy essentials they need when they went back. For most of the times it was a sure thing that they will be attacked by rogue elements from the Issa clans when they were going back to their villages in the Gewane area. Many times the local policemen provided them protection by traveling and many of them had fallen victims to the bullets of such senseless behavior.

    Such raids began to escalate especially after the independence of Somalia. Railway station like Afdem(Aware) used to be an Afar town because I had gone there with my auntie during one of her trips them on market days. Such days were on Thursdays, if my memory does not fail me. The market used to teem with Afar tribesmen. Even most of the students there used to be Afar children. I have heard some of had moved to Djibouti to become prominent citizens there. It is a different story now. When I passed thru that town on a train ride during my vacation from the Middle East in the mid 1960’s, our train had a short stop at Afdem(Aware). I could not find one living, breathing Afar there. It was a vibrant town when I left the country in the 1950’s. At one point it was the seat of the district office. There were some Greek business men with their families. There was even a Greek restaurant there. The train used to take an hour break there for lunch on its trips from Addis/Finfine to Dire Dawa. But on my stop-over there in 1965, it was just a dying village. It was a victim of senseless cattle rustling and killings associated with it. The Afars were chased out of there abandoning all villages that led them from Gewane to Afdem(Aware). All that time places like Mulu, Mieso and the rural locations including those behind Mount Asabot all the way to the shores of Awash were inhabited by Oromos including my own Itu clan members on my mother’s side.

    Now when I write this past history I am not saying demography of places should not change. Not at all. That has been happening throughout the history of humans. But at one point it can become so deadly and destructive. This is one example. That could not happen without external instigating and support. Again such raids by both sides is not new but most of the times it was the rogue elements among the Issa clans the offenders. Again, I did not say all Issa clans but ‘ROGUE ELEMENTS’.

    Now, you may find such deadly and destructive behavior begging the question: Why? Why do they conduct such raids? The reasons can both economical and cultural. Culturally, why pay the dowries with your own cattle when you get them by besieging your ‘enemies’? On the economy side, you may find the culprits by going all the way to the neighboring Djibouti and Somaliland. Your well nourished calf that was rustled today it may find itself at the slaughter houses in Djibouti or Hargeisa a week later or on its journey to the fat bellies of the Wahhabis two weeks later from the ports awaiting there. Such ‘rewarding’ markets began with the establishments of outposts by colonial powers in the 19th century. Their demand for animal products could in no way be satisfied by the cattles, sheep and goats available in such forbidding landscapes. These have been lucrative markets for such marauding thugs. That was bridled with illicit goods coming from Europe then and now from Asia. It is going to be an on-going headache for any administration. It was for Emperor Haile, it got worse with the butcher Mengistu and it got even more complicated with ill planned and executed slice’em-burn’em regional arrangement.

    This problem was untouchable for discussion before but it is a different period now. On the Somalis side, we have such gifted and brilliant young man H.E. Mustafa and I’m sure he has his equals on the Afar side. The root of the problem is not foreign based but rather right there in both regions. They have to sit down and come up with a long term plan that will gradually and surely change the nomadic ways of living by their citizens. They must be bold enough to face this factor head on and tag effective population growth in their regions. Just like my own Oromos they have been multiplying like there is no tomorrow. The best and assured way is to spread of industrialization in those areas which will drag women out of their homes into factories. Then they will have no time to incubate babies by clueless men just like my own. They have industrious people and can become the mfg hub for the Horn including those across the Bab-El-Mandab. Just like my merchant relatives they have astute business people among them. This senseless killing cannot just go on. It is not sustainable and if it continues it has the potential to be an all out genocide that has the possibility of spilling into the neighboring countries particularly Djibouti. I am preparing myself to hear a retribution response for the Afar clans soon and that will be something that bleeds my heart with sorrow. My niggaaz killing each other is the worst news I hate to hear.

    Ok My Dear Mustafa!!! Let’s get to work!!! My Dear Afar friends!!! Get to work and work with H.E. Mustafa to devise a long term solution for this age old deadly ritual. You know I have nothing but love for you and wish you all the best of luck in such blessed endeavor.

  2. Ever since this fanatic Addis Ababa KINIJIT vigilantes got let in to Ethiopia with mercy the Kinijit cadres had been creating unrests allover the country.

    In Addis Ababa children of the honest hardworking poor were said to be overqualified for free food doomed to continue starving, while the children of Kinijit ginbot7 affiliated corrupt tax evaders career Arab maids got qualified for free food.

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