Inter-communal violence kills at least three in Djibouti

Violence between communities in which the police intervened resulted in the deaths of at least three people, Sunday 1is August in Djibouti, where incidents of this type are extremely rare. The violence, which involved the Issa and the Afar, the two large communities of this Horn of Africa country, occurred in several neighborhoods of the capital.

“There have been several extremely serious criminal acts. Indeed, houses were set on fire intentionally ”, the prosecutor of Djibouti, Lamisse Mohamed Saïd, declared on public television on Monday. “Innocent people have been abused for free”, she added, without mentioning the community nature of these incidents.

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Mme Said reported “Three deaths”, without saying whether these occurred in the clashes or during the intervention of the police. Residents told AFP about ten dead, including a baker “Lynched by young Afar people”, according to one of them. According to witnesses, the violence began in the early afternoon in Warabaley, where Issa houses were set on fire, and then spread to other neighborhoods. Afar houses were notably burnt in PK12, a district of the capital.

Several people in custody

“Around 10 pm, I saw people running around, the police chasing them away. Houses continue to burn until now, it is getting serious ”, said Amareh, a seller of PK12 who did not want to give his full name, Sunday night. Daher, an entrepreneur in Hodan, said he saw his Afar neighbors leave their homes. “They are leaving because they are afraid that their house will be set on fire because of what is happening”, he said.

Monday, life had resumed its normal course despite a strong police presence in some neighborhoods. Internet access, however, was erratic and Facebook inaccessible. Djibouti social networks had been heating up for several days, after similar clashes took place in late July in the Somali region of Ethiopia, near the southern border of Djibouti.

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Monday, Mme Saïd claimed that several people were in custody in Djibouti. “We will take firm action against all those who sow these troubles and crimes in our country”, did she say.

An island of stability in a troubled region, the country has less than a million inhabitants and its strong regime, chaired since 1999 by Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, rarely observes disputes or violence. The Minister of the Interior, Said Nouh Hassan, mentioned in a televised speech broadcast on the night of “Events of a new magnitude” which he qualified as“Intolerable”.

The World with AFP