20 dead as Sidama question turns into an ethnic-based attack

Sidama Liberation Movement says about 20 people died so far

Sidama _ Ethiopia
Photo credit: Reuters. Source: VOA Amharic

borkena
July 19, 2019

A relative calm was restored in the City of Hawassa, in Southern Ethiopia, where there was a clash between deployed Ethiopian Defense Force and other security forces on the one hand and ethnic-Sidama Youth group on the other on Thursday of this week, according to a report by DW Amharic.

However, the story is different in the adjacent rural towns outside of Hawassa.  The towns of Yirgalem, Morocho, and Hagereselam, among others, were tense as the clash continued.

Sidama Liberation Movement (SLM), which is a member of Ethiopia’s registered opposition coalition, Secretary, Legesse Lankuamon told Voice of America Amharic service that about twenty people are killed since Thursday of this week. Most of the killings happened in Melga district and its environs, he added.

Casualty on the part of the security forces is unreported yet.

SLM wants the withdrawal of the Defense Force deployed in the region in the interest of “restoring calm and stability in the region.” It means that, according to SLM secretary, the violence in the region could continue.

“We knew this would happen,” said Legesse.

Asked as to what they (the leaders) have done to reverse the situation, he replied that they have been consulting with government bodies.

On the other hand, vulnerable non-Sidama ethnic groups living in the region rather want the government to send reinforcements as they are not feeling safe following an attack by radical Sidama ethno-nationalists including the youth group known as Ejeto.  Name of the victims is undisclosed at this writing.

These community members told VOA Amharic that property has deliberately been damaged and in some cases looted.

BBC Amharic Service has also reported on July 19 that in Yirgalem town, people are attacked and property looted.  Two vehicles belonging to the town’s administration are burned. A flour factory is also burned.

Based on citizen reports from the region and VOA Amharic and DW Amharic, it is clear that the attack was targeting non-ethnic Sidama Ethiopians living in the region.

Referring to what unfolded in Hawassa and other towns in the region, President of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, Million Matheos, who is himself ethnic-Sidama reportedly said that he is saddened by what happened and called on people to restore calm.

What triggered the security crisis in the region, some Sidama politicians seem to believe, is the National Election Board statement on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

The statement said that the board is working on the referendum for ethnic Sidama to form their own state, distinct from Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, and that it will finalize the referendum within five months. 

What angered Sidama nationalists the statement came in less than 24 hours before Hamele 11/11 (July 18, 2019) which they set as a date to declare Sidama statehood without a referendum and in a unilateral fashion. The board explained why it was not responding to the question until July 16.

The Board also asked Sidama Zone leaders and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region leaders to map out the status of Hawassa city before the referendum in case the outcome of it turns out to be Sidama Statehood. Sidama nationalists understood that as a precondition and that the Election Board has gone overboard.

Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region is an expression of the contradictions of Ethiopia’s administrative arrangement which is believed to be engineered by Tigray People’s Liberation Front under the late Meles Zenawi.

Existing federal regional state in Ethiopia are organized based on ethnicity except in the case of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region which constitutes over 50 ethnic groups.

Following Sidama’s request to break away from the region, nine other ethnic zones in the region are pushing for an ethnic state of their own.  

The regional state does not seem to want to entertain the demand for statehood except for Sidama. What that means is that the problem in the region is far from over even if Sidama was given a status of ethnic-statehood.



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

7 Responses to "20 dead as Sidama question turns into an ethnic-based attack"

  1. Melaku Biru Kebede   July 20, 2019 at 12:24 am

    Many Sidama people that were asking for their own region previously are now after seeing this massacre that happened this week, are starting to change their question into Sidama becoming an independent country with its own money currency.

    Amara and Oromo is made to quarrell each
    otherr by TPLF.TPLF doesn’t want to get attention directed to the common enemy of Amara and Oromo the TPLF.
    Just a decade ago there were only 66 billions of Birrs worth cash that were printed By EPRDF, now a decade later there are said to be 789 billions of birrs that are printed by EPRDF.

    The cash printed by EPRDF got 11 folds higher in just a decade .
    Diasporas dollar is the only thing that will finish the GERD DAM CONSTRUCTION.

    Reply
  2. Amleset   July 20, 2019 at 5:25 am

    The major point is let us stop demonizing eachother . You are very concerned only for your families and tribes but not for oromo, tigray gurage or amhara.

    It was true that some amhara elites killed the socalled minorities based on their ethnicity . TPLF said what was hapenning before its regime come to existence. Call thief a thief but not inverstor or pious man.
    But, why are you continoulsy insulting innocent tigreans for what TPLF did ?

    You are spreading hate and promotiong genocide and ethinic cleansing . Please donot pretend to be thoughtful.

    I urge you to stop . It is ugly and nasty approach to fight for pôwer and money in such a way like the way you are doing it now.

    Please stop spreading hate against small margin of tribes and nationalities. People want violence in order to robe and attack their weak neighbours and ex-enemies .

    thank you

    Reply
  3. Melaku   July 20, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Jobs..jobs..jobs..the solution to idleness.

    Reply
  4. Abrham   July 20, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    The Sidamas were told by declaring a state hood or independent Sedama they will achieve progress, Prosperity like Singapore with in a few years by TPLFITS and their propagandists lured them in to this floshnes and the fools bought it. Singapore has three four ethnic group the Chinese with their majority group didn’t burn or killed the Malays, Indians or eurasians, despite the Malays being indigenous people of Singapore they’d never asked the other ethnic groups to leave or stoned them to death, burn their property. INSTEAD they worked hard and works together and made Singapore one of the most reachest country in the world today. A few Sidamas bandits with their mafia bosses may burn houses, properties,robes their belongings and stones people to death who doesn’t belong to their ethnicity, and this other group lived their for generations. If Sidamas gets their way through this kind of violence and intimidation of other ethnic groups I am afraid the only friends they’ll have is a few tplfits that may not last for much longer but the bandits of Sidama will leave a much bigger wound in many millions of Ethiopians hearts forever.

    Reply
  5. sid   July 21, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    SIDAMO DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC will be announced soon

    Reply
    • Legend   July 23, 2019 at 10:00 am

      Those that ask for independance such as the establishment of Sidama Democratic Republic do not know what a Banana Republic is. It is a Republic that is too small to survive.

      Reply
  6. Tilahun   July 26, 2019 at 8:20 am

    This all is the result of TPLF ethnic based federalism. The current government should change the structure of federalism which is based on ethnicity. otherwise, it will continue until we clash each other like other countries….

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.