Somali families fleeing conflict in Ethiopia crowd into IDP camps in Gedo region

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Olaad Billow Bulle, his 80-year-old mother, and one of his sons are among the hundreds of Somalis who have recently arrived in southern Somalia’s Gedo region fleeing conflict between Somali and Oromo communities in Ethiopia.

All three have been sleeping out in the open for nearly a month close to the sprawling internal displacement camps of Kabaasa 2 in Dollow, largely populated by drought-displaced families from within Gedo and other parts of Somalia.

Olaad told Radio Ergo in a phone interview that they had lost all their property and he did not know if his wife and three other children were alive. They had been separated during attacks on their community by Oromos in Negele and had spent a month living rough in Ethiopia before getting a ride with Somali truckers over the border to Gedo.

The cause of the fighting is said to be over land ownership. The Ethiopian state of Oromia is bordered to the east by Ethiopia’s Somali Region.

Olaad said he was nursing a broken arm and his mother and son also had broken limbs after they were beaten with sticks. They have no shelter and no food and are relying on handouts given to them by other IDPs in Gedo who feel pity for them.

There are 123 families recently arrived from conflict-affected parts of in Kabaasa 2 camp in Dollow, according to camp chairman Ali Ibrahim Ahmed.  He said the new families have few belongings.  He said no aid groups had intervened to support the new arrivals so they were depending on what other IDPs could spare.

Some of those arriving say their houses and property were burnt in clashes. The farmers among them were just about to harvest their crops.

Olaad’s family used to have a decent income from their farm where they grew maize, beans and other crops. Now they are destitute.

Some of those fleeing their homes are camping in IDP camps in Ethiopia. Those coming into Gedo say there are no IDP registrations on the Ethiopian side.

 

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