Murders Enjoy Freedom, Whilst Sidama Loqee Massacre Victims Remain Without Justice As 15th Year On.
May 24, 2017
A confirmed 69 unarmed, nonviolently marching Sidama civilians have been executed in broad day light by TPLF’s (Tigray People’s Liberation Front- the current rulers of Ethiopia) highly mechanized army on May 24, 2002. Unknown numbers of Sidama victims who’re shot and unconsciously run into nearby bushes and maize farms were also eaten by hyenas and other wild animals on the night of the massacre. Their dead bodies were eaten in such abhorring manner simply because they were left to bleed and die an agonizing death; as family and medical attention were denied. The incident has taken place before 11am local time. Following the massacre, TPLF has imposed strict curfew in the entire Sidama land with severe intensity in the capital, Hawassa. In addition to the indicated numbers of confirmed victims above, the death of unknown number of Sidama civilians came to the light of majority only after dozens of skulls were discovered in the adjacent bushes, shrubs as well maize farms days and weeks after the massacre when the curfew has been slightly eased.
The Loqqe Massacre of the Sidama Civilians
On May 24, 2002, Sidama people of all walks of life staged a peaceful, nonviolent and unarmed demonstration claiming their unconditional rights for regional autonomy that was accorded to the nations whose population is significantly smaller than that of theirs. The current estimated population of Sidama is over 5.5m. Despite their peaceful demand for regional autonomy, the demonstrators were met with live ammunitions from the army and the police forces that were assigned to monitor the protest. The regime’s political leadership from Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia Nations and Nationalities and People’s Regional State up to the central government carefully planned and managed the massacre.
Up to 100 Sidama demonstrators from whom 69 were confirmed were slaughtered in a broad day light for which neither the killers nor those who ordered the massacre were held accountable for their hideous crimes against humanity. To this date, the Sidama families whose fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, relatives, sons and daughters died continually mourn their loss, and continue to do so until justice prevails.
The composition of Sidama demonstrators in addition to business community, civil servants and peasants of adjacent villages to Hawassa, has also involved thousands of all level students who’re attending their college, high school, university on full time and part time basis. The later have travelled from across the entire Sidama districts to take their studies in Hawassa. Therefore, the number of Sidama civilians who have been murdered by TPLF’s army and thrown to buses might have been much higher than the confirmed.
Moreover, the families and parents of murdered civilians were hardly identified for the following reasons. Firstly, nobody knew the whereabouts of the Sidama victims of atrocity because they came from several Sidama villages and tracing their family has been impossible, and there has been no parameter in place to consider such an issue. Secondly, the families in various villages don’t know whether their beloved ones have been killed or not simply because they live in a countryside where there is no means of communication, and the parents were TPLF impoverished peasants with mere subsistence, thus can’t travel to Hawassa even under normal circumstances. Thirdly, TPLF’s Sidama cadres as well as the Agiazi (TPLF special commando- civilian killing machines) were roaming on roads of the entire Sidama villages, therefore, it was impossible to freely travel for those who can. Fourthly, TPLF cadre used SDP established Sidama Radio to intimidate Sidama, thereby undermine the number of Sidama victims and the causes of their death.
Therefore, the wider Sidama nation was left in utter confusion. The Sidama radio has been primarily established by Sidama Development Program, SDP to be used as rural development harnessing project by dedicated Sidama professionals. Since May 24, 2002 Sidama massacre, however, the radio taken away by hence became the tool of Sidama intimidating and manipulating for TPLF’s Sidama cadres.
The Loqee Sidama massacre has taken place in the outskirt of Sidama capital, Hawassa, roughly between 3.5 to 4 km, on the road leading to it, at a small village known as Loqee. The civilians haven’t expected the regime’s acts of bestiality when they were suddenly stormed by a highly-armed and coordinated Tigray (Agiazi) forces from all corners of bushes, shrubs and grownup maize farms, in addition to another mechanized battalion blocking their way ahead of them. Suddenly, Sidama demonstrators were encircled from all corners by supposedly national defense forces, the force which is meant to defend the rights of citizens. Acting to the contrary, however, TPLF proved its being an invading foreigner, that hardly cares for the Sidama as a nation and its people.
Exclusively Sidama civilians who’re numbering between 15 to 17 thousand, demonstrating regime’s denial of the nation of its constitutional rights to nominal regional self-determination, were gunned down by live bullets flooding from all corners. The scene of Sidama massacre become only comparable with cataclysmic biblical Armageddon. The Sidama victims harrowing calls for help only being heard by their land for which they were paying ultimate sacrifice and their nearby mountain ‘Duumee’, also known as Tabour. Indistinguishably, the Sidama of all walks of life who took part were gunned down by Tigrean (TPLF) mafia planned, led and stage-managed anti-Sidama operation, remote controlled by late TPLF’s PM Meles Zenawi. One of the key late PM’s (Meles Zenawi) messengers was Hailemarian Desalegen (current PM) whilst south Ethiopia regional president with the other TPLF’s federal and regional apparatuses as well as Sidama Zone quislings such as Melese Marimo, Galalcha Janjee and Shiferaw Shuguxe, planned and executed the massacre of Sidama civilians.
Unlike their assailants, the Sidama’s belief in addressing conflicts peacefully emanate from centuries old nation’s exercises of democratic principles. Therefore, the Sidama didn’t expect TPLF’s barbarism at the said moment, simply because firstly, they weren’t armed to draw their reaction, secondly, the civilians remained extremely disciplined, and thirdly they have satisfied all the necessary pre-requisites the constitution unambiguously states to adhere to whilst undertaking such a demonstration. Therefore, there is no reason for the Sidama civilians to think otherwise. As indicated earlier, the Sidama nation doesn’t believe in violence, death and destruction, but in dialogue and peacefully resolving conflicts in the manner its several millennia old tradition and democratic system (Luwa-cultural, political and socio-democratic institution passed over to them by their ancestors). For this reason, the Sidama nation doesn’t have death penalty in its history as it believes in corrective measure instead of punishing culprits with death penalty since time immemorial, thus in a traditional Sidama, crime used to be extremely minimal.
Whilst the oppressors of the Sidama nation treated their less fortunate and women with barbarism of unprecedented proportion, the Sidama nation had a well-established political, cultural and socio-economic parameters under which it has defended the rights of women and vulnerable groups of societies, until the nation was coerced and amalgamated into a modern day Ethiopia since late 1880s; thereby replace their noble culture with European colony style identity crisis and associated consequences. The Sidamas nation’s monotheistic (Magano Kalaqa Kaliiqa-God the creator of the universe) religion whose ethos is justice, fairness, respect and democracy, has been replaced by Europe and Arab merchandised new religions whose foundations were cemented on lies, deceits, expropriation, massacres of cataclysmic proportion and falsifications of the natural truth about life, death and after life.
Kush nations’ including, the Sidama’s Magano and Oromo’s Waqaa, noble culture and beliefs were ridiculed by the historical rulers of both Kush cousins including the current TPLF. Therefore, to date, TPLF tacitly impose its will and belief on Sidama nation on the manner comparable with European actions against their colonies.
As indicated above, the Sidama civilians were convinced based on their ethos on principles of peaceful resolution of conflicts; yet their adversary – European style colonial practitioner, TPLF has defied the belief of the nation when the later responded the Sidama nations’ peaceful and constitutionally guaranteed quests with unprecedented level of barbarism. Children as young as 11 and 12 years old were shot on their heads and chests. Primary, high school and university level students, adults, civils servants and peasants have been indiscriminately massacred.
By indiscriminately massacring unarmed and nonviolent Sidama civilians, expropriating their resources, monopolizing economic and political power, TPLF proved its colonial intent. This is the case in Oromia, Ogaden Somali, Gambella, Benshangul, Amhara, Konso, Gedeo and in the regions and zones of the rest peoples of vast Ethiopia. Therefore, TPLF’s action 100% satisfy the definition of European colonial expansion. European colonizers monopolized political, economic, military power and security parameters whilst expropriating the resources of the subjects by virtually enslaving them. TPLF is doing the same thing against the subjects since 1991. The entire Sidama land in and around Hawassa as well as its wealth to date serve the interests of TPLF. For example, tens of thousands of Sidama peasants were displaced from their ancestral lands to vacate it for TPLF, to become destitute in their own soil, as is the case in Oromia and the rest parts of Ethiopia. This has been the case during European colorization of African, Aborigines of Australia and both North and South America. There is plethora of logical and scholarly grounds to assert that the current regime is ruling the entire country with the aspiration, intent and action only comparable with that of European colonizers.
In addition to 69 confirmed Sidama victims, over 300 Sidama civilians sustained major and minor injuries during the encounters of the indicated live shootings. Subsequently, the Sidama region becomes fully militarized. Tens of thousands of Sidama civilians in all then 9 districts were terrorized, beaten, women and girls raped, while over 15,000 Sidama civilians have been indiscriminately incarcerated throughout the entire Sidama, where torture is a common practice. To make the situation worst, Sidama people were not allowed to collect the bodies of their loved family members for the following four to seven days. When they were eventually allowed to collect the bodies of their loved ones, they were required to pay between 350-700 Ethiopian Birr for TPLF’s agents as a retention fee. One can imagine how traumatizing such hideous actions to the families could be. The complexity of the TPLF’s brutality to the Sidama people- both dead and alive is beyond comprehension.
The manner under which the Sidama Loqee massacre has been conducted and the aftermaths of the massacre has been managed is only comparable with the barbarism of European colonial vultures who’ve dehumanized their subjects as TPLF is doing to Sidama, Oromo, Ogedeni Somali, Konso, Benshangul, Gambella, Amhara and the rest peoples of Ethiopia. To date, TPLF handpicked agents such as Shiferaw Shigute are literally enslaving Sidama people and working towards totally taming them to an eternal subjugation. Although this won’t be easily achieved, yet the ramifications of the current action of the regime on the viability of the nation will be severe, needing urgent action. Equally, eerie silence of Sidama nation at this critical time needs to come to an end, for the nation to be able to reclaim its lost dignity and politico-economic and socio-cultural rights.
Those TPLF’s officials who’ve held meeting in the eve of (May 24, 2002) Sidama massacre in Hawassa under the leadership of current PM.
- Late TPLF’s PM, Meles Zenawi directly ordered the massacre of the Sidama demonstrators and assigned the following federal, regional and Sidama Zone cadres to stage-manage it.
- Current puppet PM Hailemariam Desalegn (then southern regional state President, Chaired the meeting)
- Abay Tsehaye, (then Federal TPLF/EPRDF’s Ethiopian secret system leader, led the meeting on behalf of TPLF)
- Bereket Simeon (then Federal Information Minster and TPLF/EPRDF’s spokesperson)
- Abadula Gamada (then Federal Defence Minister)
- Girma Biru (then Industry Minster)
- Mulugeta Alemseged (TPLF’s Polite Bureau, then PM Meles Zenawi’s Adviser)
- Tadessie Kassa (then Amhara regional government Executive)
- Melese Marimo (then southern regional State deputy president inapt Sidama quisling)
- Galalcha Janje (Extremely dogmatic then Sidama zone/south Police commander)
- Dr Kebede Kanchula, (soviet educated Sidama quisling)
- Shiferaw Shigute (then Zone department head in the process of being mentored by Number one to be able to learn how to brutalize Sidama people)
- The other 8 Sidama Zone Cadres from whom only 2 rejected the plan of stage-managing of Sidama massacre.
Finally, needless mentioning, yet those who are responsible for planning, ordering and stage-managing the Sidama Loqee massacre must be brought to justice. ‘When’ is the key question to be answered. This means, TPLF and its entire apparatuses are responsible from federal to Sidama Zone. These criminals are widely circulating both in Sidama land and beyond further wreaking havoc. Therefore, always moaning by begging justice from the very criminal regime becomes utter foolishness and unwise waste of time. The regime time and again shown its unpreparedness for a peaceful resolution of ongoing tragedies.
Apparently, it’s becoming clearer than ever to the subjects that, they have exhausted all parameters of peacefully approaching TPLF, leaving them with no choice, but preparing to accept an unpalatable reality. This regime must be removed by a united struggle of the subjects. It must be removed by force, but nothing else. There is no ‘if’ or ‘but’. Twenty-six years passed by since this regime has assumed power, yet it is talking the same language employing various cunning tactics. Still it believes that it should rule Ethiopia and its subjects at least for further 50 years. TPLF’s biggest vision is creating its own country after effectively debilitating nations and peoples of the country whilst expropriating its resources and wealth as it has been doing for the last 26 years. It must be removed immediately with consorted efforts of the subjects.
Contrary to the above, expecting magic bullet whilst bickering on a minor issue never bring solution for subjected nations and peoples of Ethiopia. Instead, it severs the interests of the regime. Doing so give it more time. The need for total change of attitude and political shift from the aspect of the subjects is paramount important. The subjects must think differently and dynamically, leaving their differences aside to be able to wage meaningful war to get rid of enslaving regime.
The Sidama nation mustn’t forget those who’ve paid huge sacrifices with their precious lives. Therefore, the nation must stop its alliance with TPLF and its Sidama as well as fake southern Ethiopia cadres whilst honoring its Loqee massacre heroes and heroines. Unite with your Oromo cousins and the rest peoples of Ethiopia to get rid of TPLF’s colonizing agents who’s taken your dignity, pride and life all together. The time is precious and it’s today!
Wake up Sidama!
The souls of Sidama Loqee massacre victims rest in peace whilst we stride towards asserting the cause for which you’ve paid ultimate sacrifices. I salute your heroism and resilience in the face of live bullet.
By Denboba Natie
May 24, 2015
(on 15th Commemorative anniversary of Sidama Loqee Massacre).