Ethiopian City of Dire Dawa Still Facing Security Problems

By Staff Reporter

Dire-Dawa-ConflictSeptember 23, 2019 ( -- Ethiopia’s eastern city of Dire Dawa has witnessed a two-day security problem during which one person was killed and many others wounded over the last weekend.

In a briefing on Monday, Government Communications Affairs Bureau of the city administration said the security problems mainly involved fighting between organized youth groups, accompanied by knives in places called Qefira, Dechatuna and Amistegna.

Acting head of the Bureau Michael Endale said the fighting has now been put under control after the involvement of regional and federal police. The city is still tense and free movement of people has been highly jeopardized, eye witnesses told  

The fighting between members of different religious and ethnic backgrounds were there even a few weeks ago, but it relapsed last Saturday after dispute arose among people enjoying recreational centers, Michael added.

According to the acting head, those people who suffered injuries during the fighting have been receiving medical treatment in Dil Chora and Sabian hospitals.

Damaged properties during the fights have not been quantified, Michael said.

The communication head claimed that the fights had nothing to do with ethnicity or religion, although some people who had political agenda named it ethnic conflict.

Early this year, the federally administered city had witnessed a week of protest and violence. The protest first began on January 21, 2019 during the celebration of the Ethiopian Orthodox Epiphany after minor clashes occurred between youth celebrating Epiphany and others. The protest later took another shape and turned into political demands. Following days of standoff, the military was deployed to the city to calm the situation down. However, the city has not seen complete stability since then.

It is to be recalled that, back in August 2018, the city saw a similar violent episode which led to six Djiboutian individuals losing their lives in the conflict and close to 2,000 Djiboutian nationals forced to leave the city.

Dire Dawa is a chartered city and its administration is filled based on ethnic quota. Accordingly, 40 percent to the city administration is held by ethnic Somali, another 40 percent is held by ethnic Oromo and the rest 20 percent is left for other ethnic groups.

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