The police said at least three people were killed in the country’s capital after violent clashes between the Afar and Iser people.
The prosecutor said that after the rare outbreak of inter-ethnic violence in Djibouti, at least three people died, during which the police intervened.
Fighting broke out in several places in the capital Djibouti on Sunday, between the Afar ethnic group that crosses the border between Djibouti and Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Isa ethnic group, another major ethnic group in Djibouti.
“There have been several extremely serious crimes. The house was deliberately set on fire,” Ramis Mohamed Said told public television on Monday, but did not give any possible reasons for the violence.
“Innocent people are being attacked for no reason,” she said.
She added that three people died, but did not specify whether they did so during the inter-ethnic fighting or after police intervention.
Said Nouh Hassan, the Minister of the Interior, referred to a “new scale incident” in a nightly broadcast television speech, which he called “intolerable.”
Agence France-Presse reported that local residents said more than a dozen people had been killed, and one of the bakers was “lynched by Afar youth.”
Witnesses told AFP that the violence started in the Warabaley area, where the Issa house was set on fire and then spread to other areas.
The local entrepreneur Dakher said that he saw his Afar neighbors fleeing their home and feared that they would be set ablaze.
On Monday, calm was restored in most areas. There were still a large number of police stationed in some areas of the capital, but the Internet connection was unstable and Facebook could not be accessed.
Following similar violence in neighboring Ethiopia in late July, Djibouti’s social media platforms have been extremely busy for several days.
The prosecutor said that several people were detained after the violence in Djibouti.
She said: “We are taking firm measures against those who spread these troubles and crimes in our country.”
On both sides of Somalia and across from Yemen, Djibouti remained stable in a turbulent area. The stability of Djibouti has attracted foreign military powers such as former colonial rulers France, the United States, and China to establish bases there.
But the country has also seen the erosion of press freedom and has suppressed dissidents for foreign interests.
According to data from the World Bank, Djibouti’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is about US$3,500, which is higher than most parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, but about 20% of the population lives in extreme poverty and 26% are unemployed .