Federal Ethiopia Should Act and Stop Somalis Suffering in Sitti Zone  

Ethiopia must stop the orchestrated atrocity befalling the Somali people in the Sitti Zone of the Somali Regional State. For many years, Afar Regional State has been destroying and displacing Somali residents living in their towns in the West Sitti zone. 

The residents are facing an existential threat coming from the Afar region composed of tribal militias and regional soldiers. They have killed, robbed, and displaced hundreds of the Sitti zone’s population. 

The Afar region claims the ownership of Somali towns located in the West part of the Sitti zone. These are Garba-Isse, Cadayto, and Cundhufo towns. They are Somali towns and an integral part of the Somali Regional State. However, the EPRDF regime handed over the towns to the Afar region in 2014, betraying the Somali people and robbing them of their God-given lands. The regime tried to consolidate the towns for the Afar region, but the Somali people never accepted that ploy or gave in. 

The current Somali Regional State led by President Mustafa Omer has reinstated the ownership of the three towns. Nonetheless, the Afar State has never ceased claiming the same towns. Consequently, they continually attacked the residents of the towns and afflicted them in one or another. The Afar militias have killed hundreds of innocent Somalis residing in their homes. 

The Somali and Afar Regional States have gone to war over the three towns several times. The fiercest fighting occurred in July 2021, in the Garba-Isse town. About three hundred Somalis lost their lives protecting the town. In solidarity with the Sitti Zone, other parts of the Somali region took to the streets and demanded an end to the carnage in the zone.

But Ethiopia neither heard nor heeded that plea. As of the writing of this blogpost, thousands of Somalis are out of their homes and are unable to get back to their rightfully owned towns. Ethiopia is aware of all this death and destruction but does not take appropriate steps.

The country is just watching all this mess falling on the Somali people. Some days ago, the president and vice-president of the Somali Regional State visited parts of the Sitti zone but were greeted with tumult. 

Federal Ethiopia should intervene in the situation and resolve the matter. It has to restrain the Afar people and tell them to take their hands off the Somali towns.

To leave the continuous attacks on the Somali towns unabated is to humiliate the Somali Regional State, dismember its territorial integrity, and eventually alter the map of the region altogether. God help the Somali population in the West Sitti Zone.