The president of the Somali regional state, Mustafa Mohammed Omar, said on Wednesday that an important road and rail trade connecting the landed capital Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti has been blocked.
The majority of goods entering Ethiopia, a country of about 110 million people, are transported through that corridor.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the reported block. The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office and authorities in Djibouti could not be immediately reached for comment.
President Omar said the road and railroad had been blocked on Saturday by local youths protesting an attack.
“We are working to open the railway and the road in Djibouti today,” Omer told Reuters in a text message. “Discuss with young people and people,” he added.
On Tuesday, the government of Somalia said that militias from the neighboring region of Afar had attacked and looted a city, the latest inflation in a local border dispute that contributes to wider tensions in the Horn of Africa.
Ali Bedel, a spokesman for the Somali regional government, said the Afri militia “massacred hundreds of civilians” on Saturday in Gedamaytu, also known as Gabraiisa, a city at the center of a long-running regional border dispute in northeastern Ethiopia.
Afar’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An internal UN report, which Reuters saw, however, said that it was in Gedamaytu with an unknown number of wounded on both sides.
Ethiopia has sought to curb the escalation of violence as regions and ethnic groups struggle for power and resources. The worst violence, unrelated to the recent inflation, has been around Tigray in the north, where a conflict erupted in late 2020.