Ethiopian authorities admit over 50 killed from Sidama incident

The figure is only based on hospital sources and police said that it does not have information about people who were killed and whose funeral took place in the countryside

Ethiopian authorities _ Hawassa
Hawassa City in South Ethiopia

July 31, 2019

Nearly two weeks after the incident, security officials in Southern Ethiopia give an official number of people killed during the violence in Sidama zone of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region. 

DW Amharic service confirmed from Commander Dagnachew Demissie, police head in the zone, that the number of people killed in Sidama zone between July 18, the day the violence started, and the day it was stopped by federal security forces on June 22, is 53. 

He added that the number of deaths is only based on hospital sources and that police does not know the number of those who were killed and were not brought to the hospital. 

It was reported last week that the number of deaths reported by Sidama opposition figures is 60. 

Besides, 54 people were wounded, according to the police chief of the zone, and as many as 935 suspects are in custody. 

Regarding the destruction of properties, the commander confirmed that factories, convenience stores, hotels, as well as residential areas were also attacked and destroyed. An estimate of a property destroyed and looted is not yet ready from the government but the police commander said that a committee is working on that. 

The incident started first in Hawassa, capital of the regional state, on July 18 when a Sidama ethnic-nationalist youth group ( they are also known as Ejeto) clash with security forces as they move to declare Sidama zone the 10th regional state on their casting aside legal and administrative procedures requirements for the status. 

Then the violence spread to other towns in the region like Yirgalem, Hula, Malga, Aleta Wendo, and Moricho. 

Violence continued for days mostly targeting non-Sidama ethnic community in the region to the point that the regional government had to ask “intervention” from the federal government. Currently, security work in the region is under the direction of Command Post.

Meanwhile, South Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM), the party that governs the region, disclosed on Wednesday that it has finalized its meeting on the results of a study regarding the demand for regional state status in the region. 

Head of the party’s central committee, Moges Balcha, said that the leadership has reached an agreement on the result of the study. he also revealed that there is a consensus among the leadership that people in the region need to have a consultation on the result of the study. 

He added that dealing with the security crisis in some parts of the region is a top priority for the party and that the Command Post will continue working on security matters. 

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