Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Government blamed for ethnic conflict

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ADDIS ABABA, 12 March (IRIN) - Ethnic conflict is "spreading like wildfire" in Ethiopia because the government is failing to tackle the problem, according to a national human rights organisation.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) urged the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to crack down on tribal clashes.

In its latest report, the organisation laid the blame for recent troubles between the Surma and Dizzi tribes who live in southwest Ethiopia at the door of the government.

The latest clashes in the Bench and Maji zone occurred after a member of the Dizzi tribe was killed. In a revenge attack, two Surma were killed. The nomadic Surma then carried out another attack on Dizzi groups living in at least four local districts.

More than 1,000 Dizzi tribe members fled their homes and some 31 people were killed in the clashes which broke out last July, according to the report.

"The ethnic policy pursued by the EPRDF government badly undermined the culture and tradition of mutual respect and concern that held the two tribes together for years on end," the report said.

EHRCO said that groups carrying guns in areas where ethnic clashes occur should be disarmed and that elders should be used to calm down tensions.

It also said that talks between the Dizzi and Surma tribes could ensure "an environment of mutual respect, peace and tranquility".

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