April 16, 2024

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Afar Fighters

FRUD Afar Fighters’ Assault in Djibouti

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The recent attack by the Afar Fighters in Djibouti has escalated tensions in the region, particularly near the Ethiopian border. The Front for Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), an armed group advocating for the rights of the Afar people, conducted this assault in Dikhil, a location not far from the Ethiopian border.

Background of FRUD and the Afar Struggle

FRUD, formed in 1991, initially worked as a united entity but split in 1994, giving rise to a political party and an armed wing. The political party participates in Djibouti’s elections, aiming to address the rights of the Afar people, while the armed wing carries out operations against Djibouti government forces. The motivation behind FRUD’s actions lies in opposing the perceived dominance of Somali factions in Djibouti’s politics, accusing them of exploiting the Afar community.

Details of the Attack on Djibouti Military Camp

The targeted military camp in Dikhil witnessed a bold incursion by FRUD fighters on the night between 22 and 23 February 2024. According to reports, the assailants not only seized weapons but also managed to capture an army vehicle that was on the move. Additionally, an ambush was executed, resulting in casualties among Djibouti’s military personnel. FRUD claimed success in completing their operation without incurring any losses.

Verification and Lack of Official Response

While official statements from the Djibouti government are yet to be released, the authenticity of the attack has been confirmed through sources close to the developments. This assault is a reminder of the volatile situation in Djibouti, where internal unrest often has repercussions in neighboring Ethiopia.

Impact on Ethiopia

Unrest in Djibouti frequently spills over into Ethiopia, particularly in the Afar and Somali regions of Ethiopia. Clashes between Afar and Somali communities in Ethiopia have historically intensified following incidents in Djibouti. Allegations fly between the factions, with Afar fighters accusing Somali factions in Djibouti of supporting Somali militias in Ethiopia and Somalis accusing Afars of getting support from FRUD and the Ethiopian military.

The border regions, especially in the Sitti Zone, have experienced recent clashes between Afar and Somali groups in Ethiopia. The strategic importance of these areas, including access to the Ethiopia-Djibouti highway, adds complexity to the existing tensions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Afar Fighters’ assault in Djibouti underscores the intricate web of historical, political, and ethnic dynamics in the region. As the situation unfolds, it demands a nuanced approach to address the root causes and prevent further escalation that could reverberate throughout Djibouti, Ethiopia, and beyond.

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