The president of the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland has condemned an attack by an Ethiopian paramilitary force which he says killed at least 21 civilians in a Somali-dominant village in Ethiopia on Tuesday.
The incident took place in Jama Dubbad, a village in the east of Ethiopia border after Ethiopia’s Lyu police force raided the village, burning homes and shot ‘civilian’ at their homes.
The motive behind the attack remains unclear, however, the Ethiopian paramilitary force carried out similar attacks in the region before.
“I am saddened to hear the awful news of civilian massacres including elderly people and women.” Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, Somaliland’s president said in a statement Thursday.
It’s unclear if the development will affect relations between Ethiopia and Somaliland which is considered a bulwark against militants fighting in East Africa.
However, Mr. Silanyo has appealed restraint by the people in the enclave, cautioning against sentiments and venting their rage over the incident, saying that his government was working with the Ethiopian government to ensure an accountability for the ‘unlawful’ civilian killings.
Ethiopian government which remains one of the few Somaliland allies which also has a diplomatic mission in the region hasn’t yet commented on the incident.
However, Somaliland which declared a unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 has political contacts with several countries its neighbours Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Somaliland’s leaders have routinely distanced themselves from Somalia’s central government, which they see as a threat to their self-declared independence.