Demonstrators show the Oromo protest sign during a march in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Picture: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERI
Demonstrators show the Oromo protest sign during a march in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Picture: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERI

Nairobi — Violence in southern Ethiopia since June has forced more than 800,000 people to flee their homes and they need food and other aid, a report by the UN and the government said on Wednesday.

The violence erupted in April about 400km south of the capital and in all more than 1.2 million people have been forced to flee, the report said.

"Renewed violence along the border areas of Gedeo and West Guji zones since early June ... has led to the displacement of more than 642,152 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Gedeo zone ... and 176,098 IDPs in West Guji zone of Oromia region," according to the report.

Though traditional leaders encouraged the movement of people back to their homes after the initial fighting in April, many fled again in June, the report said.

Ethiopia is an ethnically diverse country of 100-million people and ethnic discontent helped fuel protests that led to the resignation of prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February.

New Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April, has pledged political and economic reforms to address complaints of marginalisation by a number of ethnic groups including his own group, the Oromos.

Reuters

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