In Ethiopia, a forgotten refugee in her own land

The rain beats loudly on the metal roof of Amina Yuya’s new home, as her neighbours hastily gather clothes from a washing line and bundle a foam mattress through a doorway to escape the downpour.

Under the glow of a single light bulb, Amina tells the story of her flight from the eastern Ethiopian town of Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region, almost exactly two years ago.

“They came at night at around 7pm,” she recalls, as the youngest of her seven children squirms on her lap. “There was about 10 or 15 of them. They dragged us from our home and began beating us. They set houses on fire and killed three of my neighbours. I was lucky to escape.”

She does not know what happened to her husband that night but she assumes he, too, was killed.

The 35-year-old mother was one of tens of thousands of ethnic Oromos chased from their homes by armed gangs in eastern Ethiopia two years ago.

During 2017 nearly one million people were displaced following clashes between ethnic Oromos and ethnic Somalis in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions.

Hundreds were killed, on both sides, mostly by regional security forces.

Amina fled with her children to a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), where she stayed for seven months.

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