Ethiopia again in state of emergency and most regions under martial law
Western and Southern Oromiya, Amhara, Benshangul Gumuz and SNNP states are now under military command posts. The so-called “transition to democracy” has failed again, and the EPRDF-led Ethiopia is now back to square one.
U.S.American promoted poster-boy Premier Abiy Ahmed Ali has as Commander in Chief - despite all the regional public relations games and award-collecting stunts - only achieved that since the 2018 election of Abiy, around 1.5 million Ethiopians were forced from their homes by so-called ethnic violence – the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) of any country worldwide in 2018. In reality it is the heavy hand of the EPDRF government that like before under the TPLF regime, through which Prime Minister Abiy rose in ranks, rules with a brutal dictatorship.
Like his predecessor, assassinated General Seare Mekonen, newly appointed General Adem Mohammed leaves as Chief of General Staff a bloody trail wherever the Federal Forces go. Most mainstream media are mum on this. Adem Mohammed served as head of the intelligence agency, the National Intelligence and Security Service, NISS and is replaced as spy boss by Demelash Gebremichael.
The USA are using Ethiopia as center for their drone warfare in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, especially Yemen and don't utter a word about the gross human rights violations in the country. Hypocrisy at its best.
Security in SNNP regional state placed under federal army command post
Addis Abeba, July 23/2019 – In an evening bulletin broadcast yesterday, the South Radio and Television Agency, the regional broadcaster of the Southern nations, Nationalities and People’s Regional State (SNNPRS) said the work of security in the entire regional state has been placed under a federal command post.
The broadcaster said a decision by the National Security Council to place the region under temporary command post of the federal army came after the regional state requested the federal government for intervention. Accordingly, all zones, woredas and kebeles in SNNP regional state were placed under the federal army’s command post as of yesterday July 22, the broadcaster said.
The statement hasn’t been released by the federal government as yet, but the broadcaster said in its breaking news last night that the command post will temporarily take over the security from the regional administration to “ensure peace and security, make ways for a stable regional leadership, help answer the people’s demands peacefully and according to the law, and endure the rule of law in all areas of the regional state.”
The statement blamed “forces” who were “imposing their own wills” and sabotaged people’s legitimate demand, emotionally misled the people and caused “deaths, destruction, looting and displacement,” which in tern led to paralysis within the regular security apparatus of the regional state.
The decision came in the wake of a crisis that claimed the lives of dozens, displaced nearly 500 civilians and caused a substantial property damage following the July 18 deadline of a unilateral declaration of the Sidama statehood by members of the Sidama community and activists.
Official figures of casualities are not available yet, but leaders of the Sidama Freedom Movement (SFM), an opposition party, claim up to 60 people are killed so far. AS
Death toll rises to “more than 35” in Sidama zone, hundreds displaced after losing properties
By Addis Standard staffs
Addis Abeba, July 22/2019 – The number of civilians killed in Sidama zone in southern Ethiopia since July 18 has risen to “more than 35”, according to Yigezuh Adamu, a resident of Yirgalem who is currently in Hawassa city. “Hundreds of people are also displaced after their properties were vandalized,” Yegezu said. “We are trying to coordinate a report on the amount of casualties and property damages so as to provide it to the regional state,” Yigezuh said, referring to himself and his friends.
Hagere Selam is one of the most affected towns. Another eye witness who is also currently in Hawassa city told Addis Standard. “On Friday and Saturday at least three churches were burned to the ground in Hagere Selam by angry mobs who went out to the streets to protest the killings by security forces.”
Quoting an eye witness, DW Amharic reported yesterday that the number of people killed has risen to 34 and said 14 of the victims were killed in Hagere Selam town on Friday July 19 when the police randomly opened fire at a group of civilians who were marching toward a police station after a young man was killed the previous night.
According to the eye witness from Hagere Selam who, this afternoon, spoke to Addis Standard by phone, “the death toll from various places could be much higher. We are having difficulties of checking with relatives due to breakup of phone networks. But I have seen security forces shooting at everyone seen on the streets of Hagere Selam. I fled last night after they have detained my older brother. The situation is much worse in rural areas in the whole of Hula Woreda (where Hagere Selam is located at). People have lost their belongings and have fled their homes in search of safety,” he said.
However A senior security officer in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s regional state Police department denied the account when approached by Addis Standard and said the real number of deaths are still being investigated. “We ask the media to not take unverified numbers,” he warned, but admitted that “there are casualties in various places of the zone and four people are confirmed to have died in Hawassa alone; more than a dozen were also wounded on Thursday July 18 and Friday July 19.”
The other towns severely affected are Melga and Yirgalem. In Melga, eleven people were killed on Thursday and Friday by security forces. In Yirgalem, some reports say that Aregash Lodge, a popular Eco-lodge known for its tranquil, was burned. However Addis Standard couldn’t verify that information; neither the city’s police, nor the lodge’s telephone lines are reachable.
Accordant to sergeant Duba Kaawee, a police officer in Booree Woreda of Guji Zone, in Oromia regional state, more than 400 civilians who fled their homes from four different remote Kebeles (small districts) of Hagere Selam have come to Booree town looking for shelters. “Some of them have lost their loved ones either to a mob attack or security forces. They are reporting about mass vandalism and shootings. We are contacting the southern region emergency preparedness bureau to organize shelter, food and water,” he said by phone, adding “currently we are asking churches and mosques in the city and surrounding areas to house the displaced civilians, and together with the town’s people, we are trying to coordinate the supply food and water.”
Update: Legesse Lankamo, Sec. General of the opposition Sidama Liberation Movm't, said 17 people have been killed so far, 12 of whom were killed last night in Melga Wereda, Wetereresa town. Legesse accused members of defense forces for the killing. https://twitter.com/tesfalemw/status/1152181715651182595?s=20 …
The internet is still blocked in the whole region whereas cell phone connections to areas outside cities are hardly available. But several activists are reporting about mass arrests in many places of the Sidama Zone. The arrests which began on Thursday night in Hawassa include Getahun Deguye, general manager & Tariku Lemma, deputy general manager of the Sidama Media Network (SMN), a satellite television network based in South Africa with an office in Hawassa. Thw two were detained detained in Hawassa on Friday while having a meeting with local elders, Muluken Birhanu, news and program coordinator at the station, told the BBC Amharic.
Mass arrest also included most of the leaders of the “Ejjeetto” a youth group who have been at the forefront of organizing rallies and advocacy works to advance the Sidama’s demand for statehood. AS
Dozens arrested after clashes between security, Sidama statehood activists; police, activists report causalities
Signboards declaring Sidama statehood are placed in various places in Sidama zone . Photo: Social Media
Addis Standard staffs
Addis Abeba, July 19/2019 – Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s regional state Police Commissioner Tewdros Weldemichael said there have been human causalities and property damages in various parts of the Sidama zone following yesterday’s clashes which first started in Hawassa and its environs.
Commissioner Tewdros told state affiliated FanaBC that security forces were arresting individuals suspected of participating in protests in and around Hawassa city and that there have been causalities and property damages the extent of which are still being investigated. More clashes were reported in cities and towns in Sidama zone outside of Hawassa, he said, adding that there was a relative calm in Hawassa today. However, there were delays in security deployment outside the city where roads were blocked. Security forces are attempting to reign calm today, he said.
Sidama activists on their part accuse security forces in various places in Sidama zone and Hawassa city of arresting dozens of activists, including several leaders of Ejjeetto, a Sidama youth group spreading the campaign for Sidama statehood, such as Belay Belguda, Fasika Legesse and Getahun Deguye. Addis Standard has confirmed the arrest of these activists late yesterday. Twedros did not mention the number of casualties whereas activists say as many as eleven were killed so far. Citing Hawassa hospital, DW Amharic reported at least one person was killed yesterday and three others were injured.
According to two eye witnesses who spoke to Addis Standard by phone from Hawassa, although the city is calm today compared to yesterday, there are reports of ongoing “clashes, killings, property damages, and arrests” coming from several areas of Sidama zone such as Aleta Wendo, Hagere Selam, Yirgalem and Malga. Addis Standard’s attempts to confirm the reports from the Sidama zone administration were to no avail.
According to sources within SEPDM, yesterday’s meeting between Muferiat Kamil, Chairwoman of SEPDM, and Sidama zone officials, which took place in the morning in Hawassa city, ended with no agreement after zonal officials complained of heavy security crackdown.
Recap from from Addis Standard Social media reporting on July 18
Today marks the deadline for unilateral declaration of statehood by the Sidama community. Earlier a picture posted by DW Amharic (German broadcaster Deutsche Welle) showed a deserted city.
DW reported that some of the city’s activities were shut down while businesses, mainly banks, remained opened despite no sign of customers. DW’s reporter in Hawassa also said federal and regional security forces were seen paroling parts of the city. Representatives of Ethio and Habesha Bus PLC who wanted to remain anonymous also told the portal that transport activities were disrupted.
12: 40 PM Update:
According to two residents of Hawassa who just spoke to Addis Standard by phone,federal & regional security forces are currently patrolling main streets and business areas. The security are dispersing youth groups who are attempting to block roads. Mobile data is disconnected as of the early hours.
After a tense moment that lasted for the most part of the morning, a semblance of calm is returning in parts of Hawassa. Confrontation began when members of Sidama community wanted to assemble at city’s open center where public celebrations take place. As per sources, Muferiat Kamil,chairwoman of SEPDM, is meeting with local officials.
Meanwhile, Desalegn Messa, PR head of the Sidama Freedom Movement, an opposition party, told DW Amharic that his party has conveyed message to the Sidama people to remain calm & wait for the results of the referendum in accordance with the decision of the electoral board.
But, he said he sees it appropriate for the electoral board, NEBE, to apologize to the Sidama people for delaying the announcement of the referendum. Currently, there are three opposition parties representing the Sidama people & all have, last week, issued statement denouncing the delay. AS