The US has asked the Ethiopian government to conduct a "transparent investigation" into the recent killings of more than 55 people following ethnic clashes in the east of the country.
Residents dispute the official numbers given by Ethiopian authorities, claiming that hundreds have been killed. At least 50,000 people have been displaced since the wave of violence erupted along the borders of the Oromia and Somali regions of the country. In a statement the US Embassy in Ethiopia said it was "disturbed" by the violence and asked the government to hold those responsible accountable. It added:
"On the local level, communities must be encouraged and given space to seek peaceful resolutions to the underlying conflicts. "We believe Ethiopia’s future as a strong, prosperous, and democratic nation depends on open and inclusive political dialogue for all Ethiopians, greater government transparency, and strengthening the institutions of democracy and justice."
Local officials from the Oromia and Somali regions have accused each other of using militias and regional security forces to carry out revenge attacks. The border conflict between the two regions is long-standing. A 2004 referendum to try and resolve it failed to ease tensions. Last week, Ethiopia’s prime minister ordered federal police to take over the patrol of main roads as the military continues a disarmament exercise in the area.