Ethiopia: At least 17 killed in violence over Sidama autonomy

The Sidama, the largest ethnic group in the southern region, have been calling for their own semi-autonomous state [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]
A local official says 13 people were killed a day after hospital authorities reported four died of gunshot wounds.

At least 17 people have been killed in clashes between Ethiopian security forces and activists seeking a new autonomous region for their Sidama ethnic group, according to a local official and hospital authorities.

A local district official told Reuters news agency on Saturday that at least 13 people were killed in a town near Hawassa city, 275 kilometres south of the capital Addis Ababa, while hospital authorities said on Friday that four protesters had died of gunshot wounds in the city itself.

Confirming the 13 civilian deaths in Wotera Rassa, located about 27km from Hawassa, Shubale Buta, head of the town’s Malga district, said soldiers were travelling to calm the violence in a nearby town on Thursday.


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“When they saw people gathered near the roads, they thought they were there to create a problem and that is how the killings happened,” he told Reuters via telephone.

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A Malga resident said late on Friday he saw 14 bodies after a shooting.

“My house is near a field where the people had gathered,” he said.

“I was told by people who were there that the military came to the town [on Thursday] and randomly opened fire on people who had gathered and were discussing the referendum,” he added, saying that he later went to the place where the shooting happened and counted the bodies.

Shubale said the town was “relatively calm” on Saturday.

The Sidama, the largest ethnic group in the southern region, have been calling for a semi-autonomous state, posing the latest political challenge to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Expectations had been high that they would unilaterally declare their own region on Thursday.

thiopia is already partitioned into nine semi-autonomous regions. The constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity within a year of them requesting it.

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The Sidama Liberation Movement (SLM), which has been leading calls for the new state, accepted government demands for a delay pending a plebiscite before the end of the year.

The federal system in Africa’s second-most populous nation is designed to allow larger ethnic groups a measure of autonomy but smaller communities such as the Sidama say they have been sidelined and some are demanding their own regions.




  1. The loss of lives and destruction of property are regretable and all the Sidamas should not be blamed for them. There are extremist and noisy groups in every part of Ethiopia especially in the Oromo region who are trying to export hate and violence to the neighbouring ones. The Sidama youth should be wary of these Oromo extremists and hate mongers whose intention is to derail the legitimate Sidama demands and concerns. Their main mission and aim are instigating violence,chaos and instability in our Sidama region. These extremists and agents of violence should not be allowed to damage the fraternity between the Oromos and Sidamas.

  2. I have mentioned to you, my very dear countrymen, that bigots who have honed and hardened their plan from the safe distance here among us and the dumpsites in Asmara have gone back to the old country to go about their chores of spewing their poison unsupervised among the desperately unemployed youths there. These demons are roaming practically in every region. They may have a free ride easier in some regions than others but even in those where they seems to be overwhelmed by the level heads it is a matter of time before taking matters in their own hands. From what I hear from the old country is that these so-called elites have given a homework for the gullible and enraged youth to come up with a list of anyone who they think he/she is not one of her own. These elites from every region are making very good use of the so-called social media and internet to achieve their objectives which is set that gem of the colored ablaze. They have managed to go even further as founding their own media companies based overseas as non-profit outfits.

    The sad and upsetting thing about this mayhem is that bigots have been swaggering their murderous knives in the open for quite some time now and with ultimatums. The government should have anticipated this savage act all along. This is happening under the watchful eye of every official in charge of keeping the citizens there safe. They share the responsibility for this cruel act just for not doing the job they are hired to do.

    O!! Bigots!!!! Damn, damn, damn you lump of human refuse bigots!!! Damn, damn, damn you bigots!!! You heathens!!!! You must be ashamed of yourself!!! Burn in hell!!! It seems there are no devils in hell now and they are all there inside of you!!! You damn, damn, damn bigots!!!

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