- Sidama Youth group, they are also known as Ejeto, clashed with security forces as they unilaterally declare ethnic Sidama Statehood
- At least 1 person killed, three others injured
July 18, 2019
Ethiopian Security Forces clashed with Sidama Youth group (Ejeto) in Hawassa, the seat of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region in South Ethiopia, reported DW Amharic on Thursday.
At least 1 person was killed and three others are reportedly injured as a result of the clash. Intense gunfire has also been reported in the city.
Roads and businesses were closed in the city when security forces entered the city. Mobile and internet connection is disconnected in the city as of Thursday.
Chairwomen of Southern Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDP), Muferiat Kamil, who is also the minister for peace and security, is holding a meeting with senior government officials of the zone.
The confrontation between security forces and the Sidama youth group unfolded as the later unilaterally declared July 18, 2019, a day of referendum for ethnic Sidama statehood.
On July 16, 2019, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) disclosed its decision regarding the referendum for ethnic Sidama Statehood.
The Board recognized that it has received an application for ethnic Sidama Statehood in November 2018 but it was unable to respond to it earlier as the institution had been undertaking major legal and administrative reform, including the selection of new board members which was completed in June of 2019.
NEBE said that it has five more months, based on the Ethiopian constitution, to organize the referendum and that it is working to ensure referendum will take place within the next five months once the logistical, administrative, security, among others, aspect of the arrangement is finalized.
Yesterday, head of Sidama zone administration, Qare Chawicha, called on people in the zone to maintain calm and wait for the referendum organized by NEBE.
Leaders of Sidama opposition, like Sidama Liberation Movement, admit that the question of “self-rule” is being addressed, although it is late, called on Sidama people to maintain calm.
NEBE made three recommendations for the regional and zone authorities before as part of the preparation for the referendum. One of the issues was the status of Hawassa, which is the seat of the regional state. Matters related to wealth distribution between the would-be Sidama state and the Southern regional state has to be figured out, said the Board.
The Board also raised the rights protection issue of non-ethnic Sidama should the zone voted for ethnic Sidama state.
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena