ADDIS ABEBA –Ruling party in Ethiopia’s Southern region has suspended senior leadership of Sidama and Hadiya zones as well as heads of Hawassa city administration.
The decision was made at the executive committee meeting of the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM).
The officials were suspended from their leadership position for having a major role in the recent violence that resulted in a loss of lives and properties in the Sidama zone.
At least 25 people have died in clashes between security forces and activists who want to unilaterally declare a region in southern Ethiopia.
Hundreds of people are also displaced due to the unrest while members of other ethnic groups were also killed after being attacked by angry mobs.
Warning for others
The party, in the statement issued after its EC meeting, condemned that violent acts and extended its condolences for victims of the violence, and vowed to immediately rehabilitate the victims.
Efforts will be made in partnership with the public to bring to justice those responsible for the damage and to ensure rule of law in other parts of the regional state, it said.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, appointed by the ruling coalition last year, has won praise for political reforms in what was once one of the continent’s most repressive nations.
But many Ethiopian activists are now using their greater freedoms to demand more rights, sometimes for their own ethnic groups.
At least eight other groups besides the Sidama also want their own regions. The tensions sometimes spark violence.
On Thursday, SEPDM gave a stern warning to “violent groups” in Wolayita and Kaffa zones to “immediately cease illegal acts”.
Federal authorities temporarily have taken over security in the region since Monday at the request of the regional state.
The decision was made to quell the disruptive acts being observed in the regional state, according to SEPDM’s statement.
These disruptive acts posed a serious threat to the residents and they are beyond the capability of the regional state to control them with the regular security works, it added.