Sidama Liberation Front

header hb

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Declared War on Sidama People for Demanding their Own Province

SNLF Press Release 

23 July 2019

The Sidama people of Ethiopia demanded a regional state within Ethiopia for the second time in 20 years a year ago on 18 July 2018.  They waited peacefully for a referendum to be conducted by the Election Board to decide on their demand for the past 12 months.  The council of south Ethiopia region where Sidama currently belongs was constitutionally mandated to conduct the referendum. Instead, the council requested the Ethiopian Election Board to conduct the referendum as the Board is responsible to manage the polls in the country. However, the Board failed to conduct the referendum in spite of repeated reminders by the Sidama people. The constitutional deadline to conduct the referendum ended on 18 July 2019.

As the Sidama people flocked to the Gudumaale, their sacred cultural meeting venue in Hawassa, the capital of Sidama, on the morning of 18 July to finalize the discussions they have been holding for the previous two days on their regional question, soldiers and police forces deployed in Gudumaale blocked them from entering the venue and attacked the civilians traveling to the meeting venue across the Hawassa city killing 5 and wounding a dozen in Hawassa alone. No one should be killed for demanding a right enshrined in the constitution of the country.

The government immediately dispatched federal defense force members and special forces to all 38 Sidama districts and towns. The armed forces attacked the Sidama civilians in several districts with live ammunition. Between 18 and 20 July 2019 over 85 civilians have been massacred across Sidama including over 16 farmers in Wotara Rassa in Malga District; 26 in Hula district; 5 in Hawassa; 6 in Yirgalem; 8 in Wondogenet; 7 in Borricha; 8 in Shabbadino; 2 in Alatta Wondo district; 5 in Dalle district, and 5 in Chukko district.  Over 400 were wounded, some seriously and were admitted to various hospitals across Sidama. Over 700 civilians were arrested.

Among the 26 civilians massacred in Hula district 14 were children below 14 years of age. The Government of Abiy Ahmed massacred the Sidama children. We appeal to the international community to condemn this senseless massacre (genocide) on the Sidama people that demanded the right to regional self-administration guaranteed in the constitution of the country.  

The 700 youth arrested across Sidama include 9 prominent youth civilian coordinators and one journalist. These are  (1) Tariku W. Lemma; (2) Getahun Dagooye; (3) Fasika Legesse; (4) Belay Balguda; (5) Melesse Agaro; (6) Legesse Hankarsso, (7) Tefera Kenfato. (8} Assistant Professor Tessema Elias Shole; (9) Dr Mate Mengesha; (10) Assistant Professor Alemu Tamiso

The current and ongoing genocide in Sidama is the third such violence committed on the people in the past 28 years. The Loqqee massacre of 2002 in which over 70 people were killed, and the Hawassa and Shaammanna massacres of 2018 where over 30 people were killed, were both related to the demand to establish the Sidama regional state. The government is hunting down the Sidama youth suspect civilian movement. The government has waged war on its people. 

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Government declared a state of emergency in Sidama effective from 23 July 2019 for unspecified period.  The Sidama nation is under martial law.  This is a clear violation of basic human and democratic rights of the Sidama nation. It is a clear violation of the reform agenda that the prime minister of Ethiopia promised to implement just one year ago. 

The Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the massacre of innocent Sidama civilians who demanded the right to regional self-administration guaranteed in the constitution. The SNLF calls upon the Ethiopian government to halt committing genocide on the Sidama people including children. It demands an immediate release of the 700 Sidama youth incarcerated and being tortured in Hawassa Town and other districts. Immediate lift the state of emergency meant to suppress the constitutional rights of the Sidama people. The SNLF holds the government and its various institutions responsible for facilitating and conducting the Sidama referendum for regional statehood fully accountable for the massacre.  

The government is urged to address without any further delay the Sidama demand for regional self- administration in Ethiopia.  The Sidama nation should press ahead with full determination its peaceful demand for the realization this constitutional right.

We call upon the international community to condemn the Sidama massacre of 18-20 of July 2019 and exert pressure on the Ethiopian government to release all the prisoners, remove defense and special police forces from all districts. Killing is not remedy talk to the people.

In civilized world, defense forces protect the sovereign country from external threats, in  Ethiopia the defense forces is used more often than not  by the government to massacre civilians. The SNLF condemns the defense forces for their brutal massacre of the civilians    

Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF)

23 July 2019