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Djibouti fears the domino effect of the Tigray conflict

In Djibouti, fearing a new escalation of violence between Afar and Somali, Ismail Omar Guelleh tries to launch a friendly strategy by demonstrating his closeness to the Afar minority after the victims caused in Ethiopia by the TPLF. The risk of an expansion of the Ethiopian crisis in the small state remains high.

The Djibouti government increasingly fears the possibility of an expansion towards its borders of the internal conflict in Ethiopia, and especially fears that the most dangerous effect of this crisis could reverberate on the already tense relations between the Somali majority and the Afar minority.

After the clashes of recent weeks between the two communities in the capital and in some villages on the outskirts, the Djibouti government has tried to defuse tensions by initiating some actions to promote détente.

In recent days, in Tadjoura, the second most important city in the country and populated by a large Afar ethnic community, the government has hoisted on government buildings the flag of the Ethiopian regional state of Afar, as a sign of solidarity after the news of victims caused by Tigrinya militias.

A distancing signal that is unlikely, however, to be able to quell the tensions smoldering under the ashes of the small Horn of Africa state, where power is in  the hands of the majority ethnic Somali community, and in particular the Issa clan.

A further element of concern for Djibouti is the growing conflict between the Somali and Afar ethnic groups in Ethiopia as well, along the border between the two regional states that divide them, and where both the road axis and the final stretch of the railway connecting Addis Ababa to Djibouti pass through.

Along this route 95% of goods exported or directed to Ethiopia are moved and both in Addis Ababa and Djibouti there are fears that the Tigrinya forces of the TPLF are fueling the conflict between the two local communities, in order to interrupt the flow of goods.

Djibouti, already affected by unrest and sporadic clashes along its borders, is trying to take cover with a belated reconciliatory action in terms of national ethnic coexistence, without, however, proposing any real reform proposal in a democratic and pluralist key for the country.

Angelo Cardarello
Angelo Cardarello
Angelo Cardarello gestisce i programmi editoriali dell’Institute for Global Studies, contribuendo alla produzione di articoli divulgativi sul Medio Oriente e l’Africa. Ha studiato International Relations in Olanda, perfezionando poi i suoi studi in Libano.


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