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to Escape Ethiopian Ethnic Clash
By Mohamed Yusuf,
VOA | July 31, 2012
NAIROBI — The
Kenyan Red Cross says more than 30,000 refugees have entered the
country from Ethiopia in the past few days to escape fighting in
their own country, though the ethnic battles now seem to have been
contained and the exodus has turned to a trickle.
The Kenyan Red
Cross says the fighting was triggered by a dispute over land between
the Garri and Borana ethnic communities in southern Ethiopia, about 1.5 kilometers from
the Kenyan border.
The clashes, which started four days ago, have killed dozens and
displaced tens of thousands to temporary camps in the town of Moyale
on the Kenyan side of the border.
Nelly Muluka, Kenya Red Cross communication manager in Moyale, said
the flow of refugees has slowed.
“We are not really receiving many people at the moment, but
according to the Kenya Red Cross registration in the two camps, we
have a figure of 33,000 people who have crossed from
following the conflict,” said Muluka.
The Ethiopian government says the clashes were caused by
administrative issues rather than land disputes. Government
spokesman Bereket told the French news agency the federal police
intervened and the situation is now under control.
Muluka said Ethiopian police are maintaining a heavy presence along
the Ethiopian-Kenyan border. She said the Red Cross has distributed
blankets, mosquito nets and food. Muluka said the refugees appear to
be reluctant to go back to their villages.
“When talking to people they don’t seem to be in a hurry to go back
because they say they have lost most of their properties, all they
owned, to the conflict. Some of them even lost their relatives, and
for that fear they don’t seem to be in a hurry,” said Muluka.
The area where the clashes erupted is in the Oromia region of
southern Ethiopia. The
area is frequented by pastoral communities who heavily rely on land
for animal grazing.