Sidama Liberation Front

header hb

The Vilification of Sidama Nation By TPLF, Its Deheden and Wolayta Agents Is Categorically Deplorable!!

June 24, 2018

Press Statement by Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF)

The Sidama nation is a peace loving nation that has lived in peace and harmony with all Ethiopians for centuries. Sidama is home to tens of thousands of other Ethiopians. No time in history of Sidama have any other Ethiopians living in Sidama been discriminated or attacked by the Sidama nation. There are numerous witnesses living in Sidama today attesting about the peace loving nature of the Sidama people with those who share their land.

The Sidama New Year known as ‘Fichchee’ has been celebrated for thousands of years; and it has always been the day of peace and reconciliation. At no time in oral or recorded history has the Sidama nation attacked anyone on a Fichchee day. Instead, in accordance with the Sidama culture, during the Sidama Fichchee, those who have quarrelled required to create genuine peace and fraternity. Therefore, the Sidama Fichchee's greatest cultural heritage and value is peace building.

This being the reality about the Sidama Fichchee, the recent unrest in Sidama on a Fichchee day, June 11, 2018 and the Fichchee celebration day known as Camballala on June 12, 2018, and during the following few days is a pure political drama written and stage managed by the TPLF and its southern Ethiopia agents all are hell bent on obstructing the demand of the Sidama nation for regional self-administration. Cognizant of these meticulously planned and maliciously implemented acts of brutality, the SNLF categorically condemns TPLF’s terrorism. Furthermore, the SNLF strongly believes that, the indicated unrests were well planned and stage managed mainly by the following key TPLF coordinated anti-peace elements including:-

1. The south Ethiopia democratic movement or Dehden and its leaders particularly the infamous criminal Shiferaw Shigute and the former nominal PM Hailemariam Desalegn both of who are to date plotting against the Sidama as they have panned and coordinated the May 24, 2002’s Sidama Looqqe massacre among other crimes,

2. The Wolayta’s die hard elites are maliciously determined to block the Sidama nation from restoring its regional administration, hence are tirelessly working to tarnish the good name of the Sidama’s Fichchee as these elites are furious about its recognition by the international body as valued cultural heritages of the Sidama, the country and the world.

3. South Ethiopia and federal government TPLF’s die hard security forces that are all hell bent on derailing the reform measures being implemented by the new Prime Minister.

Furthermore, there are also credible evidences that, the Head of south Ethiopia (SNNPR) government police force commissioner, Fiseha Garedew (a Wolayta person himself) recruited the unemployed Wolayta youth to attack the Sidama people in various parts of Hawassa. The indicated and the other Wolayta elites also organise Sidama harassing Wolayta thugs who continually terrorise the Sidama women and men who travel from various Sidama villages surrounding Hawassa to the Hawassa’s weekly markets to sell and buy goods and services. Eye witnesses on various occasions attested most of the Sidama women were not allowed to dislodge their goods from their backs and the backs of their donkeys or horses; instead the indicated elements price the goods of the Sidama women as they carried it on their backs by telling them that, they have no place in Hawassa as it belongs to Wolayta.

The indicated thugs were often used to terrorise Sidama people who travel from various villages for marketing purposes by making them feel they were living in a foreign land although it is their own soil. It is imperative to assert that it will be wholly unacceptable if a guest who is peacefully allowed to stay in some ones’ home claims ownership and finally aims to displace the legitimate owner of the house. This is what our Wolayta neighbours whose people the Sidama nation peacefully harboured are doing. These were the ones the TPLF’s Deheden agents used during the current unrest as it has been attested by those young Wolayta individuals detained with weapons.

The above tripartite forces also further financed and armed unemployed young men exclusively from the Wolayta ethnic group in Hawassa who launched attacks on Sidama people who were returning from the Fichchee celebration in Gudumaale, Hawassa on June 11, 2018. Following the attack on Sidama Fichchee celebrants in Hawassa, the Federal Police force entered into the Hawassa Teachers Training College (TTC) and shot dead three Sidama students on Camballala day on June 12, 2018. The killers were also Wolayta federal police members. The same security agents then went into the city and shot dead a business person from the Borrichcha district who was just walking on the street in Hawassa. The killers were again an ethnic Wolayta security forces. The other wing of the tripartite anti-Sidama forces then travelled to ‘Shamana’ town in Sidama and threw a hand grenade (in similar manner as the TPLF’s agents attempted to assassinate the new PM on June 23, 2018’s rally in Finfinnee-Addis Ababa), killing two people and wounding dozens.

At all these times, the Sidama people were being attacked on their own soil as the security forces were fully partisan and hostile towards the Sidama people. These security forces shot dead dozens, beaten and wounded over 90 Sidamas in Hawassa alone. Meanwhile, the Wolayta’s globally sustained anti-Sidama campaign is taking a nasty shape. Instead of demanding their rights to be respected, the Wolayta’s with their Ethiopian embassy in the USA TPLF’s ambassadors and the other anti-Sidama interest Medias are maliciously engaged in ferocious anti-Sidama and its valued New Year anti-Fichchee campaign. Additionally, the Wolayta online campaigners also produced fake videos depicting Sidama as brutal people who burn the dead; in their desperate attempt to tarnish the good image of the respected Sidama nation and its culture.

Even after peace and calm was restored following the call from the new Prime Minister to meet the Sidama people in their capital Hawassa, provocations in Hawassa never stopped. Several young Wolaytas were detained brandishing weapons. Furthermore, when the new PM has visited Wolayta, in Wolayta Sodo in the evening of 19, June 2018, all the demand except few were against the Sidama nation. These included;

1. Demanding the Sidama Fichchee, the Sidama New Year to be totally disbanded

2. Demanding the Fichchee not to be celebrated in Sidama land, Hawassa,

3. Demanding Hawassa to be immediately Federalised,

4. Demanding the Sidama land Hawassa to be ruled by Wolayta, were among the others.

Sadly, the Wolayta elites ascribed all problems the Wolayta people as a nation had to the Sidama nation; although it is unclear who has given these all rights for the Wolayta to dictate the Sidama nation on how to live their lives in their own land. It is extremely malicious and absurd behaviour for them, to demand the Sidama Fichchee to be disbanded and their further yearning to assume a colonial style role in Sidama land. We urge our Wolayta brothers and sisters to critically think to come to the reality that, the Sidama nation is their good neighbour with whom they lived in peace for centuries hence they must understand that they have no right to lecture the Sidama people how to live their lives in their own soil.  We advise our Wolayta neighbours that the Sidama people are tolerant and respectful but are neither fool nor coward.  

Therefore, we further urge the Wolayta people to understand that, this shouldn’t be a pay back to Sidama for allowing tens of thousands of Wolayta to peacefully live in various parts of Sidama for centuries including in Hawassa, Borrichcha, Leku, Wondo, etc. We also strongly advise the Wolayta elites to refrain from meddling in the Sidama’s affairs including the quest of the nation for regional self-rule, instead urging them to focus on their Wolayta affairs in which the Sidama people never interfere. We also make it crystal clear to our Wolayta neighbours and mainly their venomously campaigning elites that, they have got full rights to peacefully and fraternally live in Sidama land like the other tens of thousands of Ethiopians, but have got no rights to a special privilege in Hawassa at the expense of the Sidama people. The current anti-Sidama moves of Wolayta elites are inherently malicious and criminal action that needs to be unconditionally stopped.

The Sidama nation always welcomes, protects and lives in peace with any other Ethiopians on its land; and does not have any animosity against the Wolayta who are equally oppressed people. We strongly warn the Wolayta’s TPLF agents to desist from lies, malice and provocations to destabilize Sidama people on its land. This will not hinder Sidama from restoring its rights to regional self-administration.

We regret for unnecessary loss of lives from Sidama and Wolayta; and send our deepest condolences to the affected families. We urge utmost restraint and positive cooperation to restore peace and fraternity. Hawassa has been the Sidama land since ancient times. It will remain the capital of Sidama administration for ever. Wolayta has no rights under whatsoever context to say anything about the Sidama affairs apart from peacefully living in Sidama land.

Finally, we urge the peoples of Ethiopia to understand the depth and magnitude of anti-Sidama campaign the TPLF, Deheden and its Wolayta elites are waging on Sidama nation to denounce such malicious actions. The peoples of Ethiopia must be united more than any other time at this critical juncture as the new PM moves in the manner he is aspiring by unconditionally accommodating all stakeholders under the framework of new transitional arrangement.  

Justice and Freedom for the Sidama Nation and For All Nations in Ethiopia!!

The SNLF Press Statement, June 24, 2018