UN urges early mediation between rival pastoralists

[Ethiopia] Armed Afar pastoralists.
The northern Afar region is a remote, hot and arid area (irin)

Clashes between rival pastoralists competing over scarce resources must be prevented through early mediation efforts, the UN’s Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (EUE) has said.

The call comes as nomadic groups from lowland areas in eastern Ethiopia are beginning to move their livestock in search of pasture and water.

Tensions between the rival Afar and Issa pastoralists are already fierce – exacerbated by the lack of pasture and water in the region.

“If rain does not soon improve grazing availability, clashes between the two pastoralist groups might again affect the whole area,” the EUE said in a report on the drought situation in eastern Ethiopia. “Preventive mediation efforts should be undertaken.”

“Issa pastoralists from the lowlands of Shinille zone, who are in search of pasture in the Afar Region and in the Hararghe mid- and highlands, generate growing population movements, which create tensions and an increasing danger of clashes between indigenous people and Issa nomadic groups,” it warned.

The report also spelt out the dire need for seeds for farmers in the area – some 600 km from Addis Ababa.

“Everywhere, seeds have become one of the major problems with great risks of shortage during coming planting seasons,” the EUE stressed.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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