Federal Police Takes Over Security of SNNP Region

ADDIS ABEBA – A federal command post has taken over security in restive Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) after clashes left dozens dead.

The announcement on regional state television on Monday says the security measures come at a request of the SNNP region. The aim is to ensure the rule of law and to protect the public, its say.

“The regular security structure has been unable to ensure rule of law,” said the statement. “From today onward the region will be under a federal security forces-led command post.”

At least 25 people died in clashes between security forces and activists in Sidama Zone of the SNNP region last week, according to reports. There is no official number so far.

The hospital officials said security forces fired bullets during protests across the Sidama zone administration.

Protests erupted last week as Sidama activists sought to declare their own territory separate from the diverse southern region of Ethiopia.

The East African region is already partitioned into nine regions. The constitution requires the government to organize a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity within a year of them requesting it.

Photo Caption: The Sidama, the largest ethnic group in the southern region, have been calling for their own semi-autonomous state [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]