Ethnic violence in Ethiopia’s Southern regional state has left at least 770,000 people displaced, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday.
In a press statement, Solomon Hailu, Chief Communications Officer of Southern regional state, said the vast majority of the displaced people are from Gedeo ethnic group who have been victims of ongoing ethnic violence since April. Hailu said 728,000 ethnic Gedeos have been displaced in ethnic violence pitting them against neighboring ethnic Oromos, caused by competition over of resources along the shared borders of the two communities. He further said his office is undertaking fund raising activities to raise 45 million U.S. dollars to rehabilitate displaced communities in the region. Ethiopia follows an ethnic federalism model, which has been credited with giving self-governance rights to the more than 80 ethnic groups that make up the country’s estimated 100 million people. However, critics say the ethnic federalism model magnifies ethnic diversity at the expense of national unity, leading to occasional ethnic tension and clashes.