The Oromo-Somali ethnic conflict has caused immeasurable suffering and loss to both communities. So far, the violence between the two communities has destroyed immense resources.
The social, cultural and economic ramification of the fighting, mainly along the borders, is devastating in many ways. The free flow of goods, services and labor is substantially curtailed.
The tension between the Oromo-Somali communities may have slowed down economic growth in the two regions, though it’s difficult to quantify the negative economic impact.
The movement of agricultural goods and trade was severely restricted with many people losing their main source of income and livelihood.
The economic life-line between Oromia and Somali region is operating below its potential. A big revenue loss to both regions.
Socially, the violence has ripped apart families and friends from both sides. Innocent people lost their lives and many families are still mou rning for the death of loved ones, with no hope of ever getting justice.
The question is who is formenting this deadly conflict? Is this a competitive struggle over resource and dominance between Somali and Oromia regions? … Or is this a manifestation of a power struggle between two ethnic groups trying to reassert themselves after many years of being oppressed by former regimes? It’s a complex problem.
What could the Oromia and Somali leaders do?
If Oromia and Somali regions are to find sustainable peace, they have to study and analyze the root causes of this recurrent inter-ethnic violence before designing a hasty strategy to address the problem.
Besides,politicians and community leaders should refrain from further inflammatory remarks that might escalate the violence.
Conflict de-escalation is urgently required for the affected communities to receive support and rebuild their shattered lives.
Inter-ethnic peace building and cooperation is the way forward. Peace efforts should start from grassroots level and not imposed from above with force. The government should invest in existing local community dialogue and conflict resolution infrastructures
Arresting and punishing those proven to have taken part in the violence and killings is the duty of any responsible government. Such a bold measure will deter future violence and encourage the rule of law to be upheld.
If the federal government, Oromia and Somali regions fail to bring perpetrators to justice, they will be equally crime accomplice themselves.
This heavy burden on Somali-Oromo shoulders have be lifted forever.
Swift justice for the victims will be a deserving end to close this painful chapter.
Ethiopia has had enough violence.
Give peace a chance; it will flourish like a beautiful flower.