The Ethiopian government has responded to a report on Thursday evening that there was intense fighting in the country’s east.
The Minister of Information, Negeri Lencho, is quoted as saying there was no fighting and closed roads as had been contained in a United States travel alert.
The August 10, 2017 alert read in parts, “The U.S. Embassy is aware of reports that the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga has been blocked by security forces between the cities of Babile and Harar due to intense fighting including gunfire.”
The U.S. Embassy is aware of reports that the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga has been blocked by security forces between the cities of Babile and Harar due to intense fighting including gunfire.
It added that even though Ethiopian Defense Force troops were arriving in the area, the road in question was not passable.
According to reports, the clashes – as the government claims – was between Oromos and Somalis over border delineation issues.
#Ethiopia gov says road not closed, but sporadic clashes (not ongoing) b/w Oromo & Somalis over border delineation. Land & land rights key. https://t.co/x4eCx8SYVW— Kelsey Lilley (@KelseyDegen) August 11, 2017
U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa confirms opening of main road.
“The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that the main road from Addis Ababa to Jijiga between the cities of Babile and Harar is clear and open,” the embassy said in a new security message almost 24-hours after issuing the initial one.
The US, however, remains one of the few countries that have maintained their travel advisory for Ethiopia despite the lifting of a 10-month state of emergency imposed last October.
The U.S. State Department on December 6, 2016 warned its citizens “of the risks of travel to Ethiopia due to the potential for civil unrest related to sporadic and unpredictable anti-government protests that began in November 2015.” It also spoke about how curfew rules had hampered its activities.