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Sidama zone police confirm death, injuries

The local police in Southern Regional State have confirmed that at least 53 people have died and 54 more were injured during the recent violence in Sidama Zone.

According to a report from Deutsche Welle (DW) Amharic, the above figures of those who were killed and injured only includes those who were treated at a hospital.

Dagnew Demssie, deputy police head of Sidam Zone also told DW Amharic that a number of properties, as well as factories worth millions were damaged during the violence. In addition, religious institutions as well as government offices were attacked, vandalized, robbed and set on fire.

According to Dagnew, in relation to the violence, currently 935 suspected individuals are detained.

The violence began following a call by the Sidamas to unilaterally declare statehood under the federal government on July 18, 2019. Following this, the region, with the intervention of the federal security forces have managed to avert possible confrontations in Hawassa city, the regions capital. However, the violence has spread to towns and villages outside Hawassa, within Sidama Zone with most of the causalities reported from there.

It can be recalled that last week, the regional ruling party— Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM)—has suspended a number of its officials from both the party and their current positions following the violence. This included zonal administrators in Sidama, Hadiya as well as Hawassa city.

In this regard, the party accuses the officials of the Sidama Zone, of playing a role in the violence that occurred outside of Hawassa. The party has also suspended the officials from any official roles. In the same token, officials from Hadiya zone were also suspended for endangering the publics’ safety.

Furthermore, the executive committee of the regional party has ordered all public mobilization activities in Wolaytta as well as other zones to stop.