Cherqo     -    More than a year after his house in southern Ethiopia was razed to the ground, his coffee plantation destroyed and cattle stolen, Teketel Memheru is still too terrified to return home.

The 22-year-old is one of hundreds of thousands of people uprooted from their homes by ethnic clashes in a burgeoning domestic crisis the Ethiopian government is battling to contain. “I witnessed a neighbour of mine hacked to death and another neighbour was burnt alive in his house. I’m scared to go to farm my agricultural plot for fear of attacks,” said Teketel, an ethnic Gedeo who says he came under attack by Oromos -- the country’s largest ethnic group. Officials insist that what became the world’s biggest internal displacement crisis in 2018 is under control, and that more than a million people have returned to their homes.

However those working on the ground -- speaking anonymously to avoid a government backlash -- say the displaced are being forcibly returned. They warn that the dire humanitarian conditions are only set to get worse.

“Peace is not restored, I didn’t meet a single person who wants to return under these conditions. People are really scared. It will get more difficult,” an aid worker told AFP.

The worker said that in May local officials and soldiers had entered the camps and ordered people to leave. Most people however had just disappeared once again into a fatigued host community and were living in utter “misery”.