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Ethiopian PM visits conflict-hit Somali regional state

ADDIS ABABA, April 8 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia’s new prime minister Abiy Ahmed started his first official trip outside Addis Ababa on Saturday to the eastern Somali regional state to resolve deadly communal clashes.

Heavy clashes along the Oromia-Somali boundary since last September has spilled into ethnic violence, leaving scores of people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Ahmed is expected to meet Somali regional state president Abdi Mohammed and religious and community elders in a bid to resolve underlying issues behind deadly communal clashes.

Ahmed, also chairman of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), which rules over Oromia, promised in his swearing in speech before Ethiopian parliament on Monday to resolve ongoing tensions and unrest in various parts of Ethiopia.

Oromia and Somali regional states have been locked in a dispute over the delineation of their common boundary for almost two decades.

A referendum in October 2004 was supposed to demarcate the boundary between the two regional states, but its implementation has been stalled ever since, with both sides accusing each other of non-compliance with the referendum results.

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