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Ethiopia’s Moyale hit by heavy inter-ethnic fighting, casualties reported

Reports from the Ethiopian town of Moyale indicates that intense ethnic-based clashes have claimed lives and forced residents to flee into Kenya.

According to the BBC’s correspondent in the country, residents on the Kenyan side of Moyale reported hearing gunshots since early Sunday morning.

Emmanuel Igunza said all his sources in the area said the face off was between the Oromo and Garre ethnic groups. It is not known as yet what may have led to the incident.

Moyale, a border town with Kenya made news headlines in March 2018 after a botched military operation meant to intercept anti-government elements led to the death of nine people.

That event forced 5,000 plus refugees to flee to the Kenyan side. Ethiopia government said the officer responsible had been detained and dispatched a team to probe the killings. A report of its findings has yet to be made public.

PM Abiy Ahmed, the first ethnic Oromo to become premier, who took over from Hailemariam Desalegn, is tasked with political reforms and national unity drive for a country riled by anti-government protests since 2015.

Ethiopia has declared two state of emergencies in under two years. The current one was imposed on 16 February, 2018; a day after the resignation of Desalegn. PM Abiy has yet to make a pronouncement on the state of emergency in as many speeches since he took office.

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