Several dead, houses razed amid ethnic fighting in Djibouti

Acts of violence take place in several neighborhoods between Afar and Isse, say officials, as others blame gov't

Several dead, houses razed amid ethnic fighting in Djibouti FILE PHOTO

DOUALA, Cameroon

Several people have died and houses razed to the ground in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti amid intercommunal clashes, an official said on Tuesday.

"Several extremely serious criminal acts have been reported in these neighborhoods. Houses have been intentionally burned down and unfortunately, three people have died," said prosecutor Lamisse Mohamed Said on national television following the fighting.

Vehicles have also been damaged in the violence that harmed innocent people as well, said Said condemning these events that she said took place in recent days across several neighborhoods in the country.

Interior Minister Said Nouh Hassan said the violence amounted to "gratuitous delinquency" who had earlier spoken on national television citing "several deaths."

These were "a few scuffles that were quickly brought under control" according to Souleiman Dahir, the mayor of the capital, quoted by local media.

Several local sources alleged that the death toll was higher during the intercommunal clashes between the Afar and Isse ethnic groups.

"A young man was also killed by police on Sunday afternoon in Arhiba. He was hit twice by the same police car that was chasing him. His name is Hamad Houssein Hassan," said Adan Mohamed Abdou, a representative of the Republican Alliance for Development (ARD) political party in a statement.

Six civilian deaths were also reported by Laaqo Xaagu, a local media outlet, citing a statement by the group Afar Ethinie of Djibouti.

The group blames the intervening security forces for six deaths.

Said announced that investigations had been launched and several suspects arrested.

The prosecutor vowed "firm measures against all who sow these disorders and these crimes in our country in accordance with the laws in force," she said.

Abdou's party, the ADN, accused the government of the "deterioration," claiming that it was related to violence in neighboring Ethiopia.

"The Djiboutian state has therefore failed in its responsibilities and is strongly contributing to the outbreak of a civil war in our country through the use of plainclothes police targeting Afar neighborhoods in the capital," the group added.

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