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Konso: UNESCO registered World Heritage Site is burned into ashes

By: Xiixaa Buubaa Sardaa

(Simarsan) — UNESCO registered world heritage site of Konso cultural landscape was burned into ash by government security forces of Ethiopia. Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities.

Stone steles in the towns express a complex system of marking the passing of generations of leaders. On April 8,2016, William Davidson wrote on the gurdian as Protests sparked by the arrest of Konso leader Kala Gezahegn underlined growing tensions between Ethiopia’s central government and many ethnic populations. Now it has been over a period of 7 months since the Konso people has started protesting against the injustice and maladministration by the forcefully established Zone- Segen Area People’s Zone.

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The Konso people who were formerly administered under a Special Woreda status in SNNPRS, had been unconstitutionally forced to form a zone with other neighboring ethnic groups, droping from a Special Woreda status to a Woreda in the newly formed zone. That sparked complaints from the people but no one gave an ear to the people that time. The zone government then grabbed three Kebeles from konso to create a new city structure in Sagan town. This was also followed by the deduction of annual budget allocated to Konso woreda without being approved by the woreda council representing the people. This gave momentum to the silent and peaceful popular protests in every corner in Konso since then.

Despite the loyalty of the people to the constitution of the country, the government in power at all levels has failed to give a constitutional answer to the people appeal for establishing a self governed Zone as per the law of the country. But now the Konso people is under military siege some months ago. No freedom of movement, no education for children… all offices closed. Worst the innocent farmers are being shot to death by security forces.

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Konso cultural landscapes tell the incremental story of human progression—how regular people have taken the sum total of their knowledge and applied it to living in their natural surroundings. They are another way in which history comes alive through the built environment, and their importance is recognized by UNESCO.Beside their ten months long protests the indigenous people of Konso now lost both their life and heritage. After 400 years of conservation now Konso-world heritage site is destroyed with fire set by security forces of Ethiopian government, world community have to take part in identifying the cause and take measures on guilty body.


  1. This was what the Tuarez did to the Timbiktu UNESCO registered shrines. This is what the ISIS is doing to destroy centuries old historical sites in Syria. The all-encompassing destruction of civilizations is the work of terrorists.

  2. Killing a nursing mother and abducting her infant is what a fascist regime does. It is beyond me how the Ethiopian people tolerated these blood suckers for 25 years of their rule. Divided along ethnic line, given artificial rights the numerous Ethiopian ethnic groups thought they finally got their freedom and identity. That was a false hope then and it’s now a stark reality their sense of identity along ethnic lines was drawn only to serve the regime.
    TPLF discards people as simple as people dispose of Kleenex or beer cans. Asking for regional rights (ethnic identity and boundary) is one thing, seeing the whole picture of the nation is another thing. If we simply fight on a notion that is self-centered and self-serving sooner or later it is going to crumple into pieces. The end result will not serve people within its environs or the Ethiopian people at all. We must learn to see beyond tribal and ethnic boundaries to alleviate the suffering of our people. If the Konso people say I do not care about the suffering of Oromo or Amhara or other groups, it simply serves the objective of the TPLF to eliminate us one by one. We must care for all and fight for justice and democracy. What is happening to the people of Konso is sadistic and appalling. Yet, it is not a surprise for people who knew the nature of the TPLF. In the history of Ethiopia, there is no other cruel government like the TPLF. None at all!
    Transporting Tigreans out of other Ethiopian cities and from education institution in the name of safety and depositing them in Tigray only creates division and hatred among Ethiopians. The TPLF does this not because they care for the Tigrean People, but to drum up support for their survival. It is the same twisted and arrogant spirit that divided families and sent thousands of Eritreans back to their ancestral land. Unless we start believing and thinking outside the box of regionalism, tribalism, ethnicity and religion differences we are poised to increase the suffering of our people for the foreseeable future.

  3. not Tigrians but a group individuals(the top officials from the ruling party) who have some missions of their own or others. Please tell us what is going on? the secret behind this government? are they really Ethiopian? I know most of them are Eritrean, but why they stick? I don’t think if the Tigrians have absolute autonomy in ruling the nation they couldn’t be too cruel like them. So need to think who is the master mind in gearing all activities going on here and expecting some outcomes.

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