Local media reports on Thursday, October 29, state that at least 27 people have reportedly been killed in recent days during clashes between the two Ethiopian regional states, Afar and Somali, over the disputed border in the Afar region. Although other locations are yet to be confirmed, fighting was reported in Dan La Helay and Garba-Issa villages, in the Western Sitti zone of the Somali regional state. The clashes came amidst conflicting reports from Afar and Somali activists on the nature of the conflict, about which the Afar regional state did not issue a statement as of yet. Both sides blame one another for the conflict.
Further clashes along the state border are likely in the near term, as well as a heightened security presence.
The Sitti zone is a flashpoint for repeated clashes between armed groups from both regional states. Clashes were particularly intense following a 2014 agreement to hand over three small towns, which were previously under the Somali regional state, to the Afar regional state.
Those in the Afar region are advised to monitor local media sources for further updates on the incident and any associated security operations and heed any directives issued by local authorities.
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