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Khat export negatively impacted by Ethnic conflict between Oromo and Somali regions, says government

borkena, Ethiopia News
October 19,2017

Ethiopia - Negeri Lencho -Ethnic conflict - khat
Dr Negeri Lencho, government communications minister.
Photo credit : Ethiopian Reporter

It was in the news for weeks now that conflict in areas adjacent to Oromo and Somali regions of Ethiopia caused an unprecedented crisis in the the country. Unprecedented because the ethnic conflict of that magnitude existed before.

The number of Oromo speaking Ethiopians dislocated from Somali region is now well over 600,000. Although government admitted that the condition of those affected by the conflict is appalling, it claims that it is providing them with basic necessities.

In a presser to local media on Tuesday, Dr. Negeri Lencho, government communications minister told journalists that the conflict caused obstruction of import and export route, according to report by a local newspaper, Ethiopian Reporter.

Local farmers are unable to supply market and the volume of export of certain cash crops dwindled following the conflict. Rural households that depend on the production of those cash crops are also affected, added the Communication Minister.

Supply of Khat, a stimulant plant that grows in the conflict zone, for export is affected. And the country is losing foreign earning as a result of it.

Dr Negeri also added that the Federal ministry of commerce is contacting regional authorities in Oromo and Somali regions to resolve the problem.

The commercial town of Aweday, where farmers sell their khat productions, was severely affected by the conflict; at least 50 Oromo speaking Ethiopians were killed in the town by forces deployed by, according to reports from the opposition, president of Somali region of Ethiopia, Abdi Mohamoud Omar.

Oromo activists tend to see the conflict as a manufactured one. They believe that the ruling Tigray People Liberation Front created the problem and that the Somali region president simply implemented a plan by TPLF government.

Generally, the Ethiopian government is accused of creating and exploiting ethnic conflicts as a means to maintain a hold on power.
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