Sidama Nation Commemorates 18th Anniversary of Loqqee Massacre

The Sidama Nation Is Globally to Commemorate the 18th Anniversary of the Loqqee Massacre of Sidama Civilians.

23 May 2020

Press Release BY Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF)

Sidama women mourning the massacre of over 10,000 Sidama civilians on 24 May 2002 at Loqqe in the outskirt of the Sidama capital Hawassa

2020 marks the 18th year of the Loqqee massacre of the Sidama civilians. On 24 May 2002 over 10,000 Sidama civilians including elders, business persons, civil servants and students staged a peaceful rally in a place called Loqqee in the outskirt of the Sidama capital Hawassa, demanding self-rule and opposing a proposal to move the capital of Sidama from their land of Hawassa to a district town. Although the rally was led by the Sidama elders and was entirely peaceful, the brutal EPRDF-TPLF regime ordered its special military forces known as Agiazi and special police to massacre the civilians indiscriminately. The security forces used live bullets instantly killing at least 69 confirmed civilians including a 10 years old boy on 24 May 2002.

Additionally, over 200 civilians were also wounded most of whom have endured permanent disability. Some of the dead bodies were left to be devoured by wild animals in the night of the massacre simply because the Sidama people were not allowed to collect the bodies their loved ones as strict curfew was imposed following the massacre. The EPRDF-TPLF dictatorship was never satisfied with the killings. Therefore, it has also jailed about 2000 innocent Sidama civilians following the indicated massacre.

Protests erupted over the killing of unarmed civilians

The Federal, SNNPRS and Sidama EPRDF’s officials have meticulously planned and stage managed the Loqqee massacre. For example, the then vice president of then SNNPR who happened to be a Sidama cadre went on a state television in the eve of the massacre to warn the Sidama nation that, the government would massacre the civilians if the peaceful rally went ahead. Cognizant of the EPRDF’s and the successive central rulers malicious acts, the Sidama nation never relented by warnings of such bandits as it has demanded the same quest during its 130 year of the struggle for self rule. As the EPRDF’s indicated Sidama cadre has vowed the massacre has been conducted and he has received a promotion after the massacre.

To date none of the EPRDF officials in Sidama, SNNPR and the federal government who were the perpetrators of the Loqqee massacre had been brought to justice in 18 years! We demand justice for the victims of the Loqqee massacre. We urge the Ethiopian government, the AU and the wider international community to bring the perpetrators of the Loqqee massacre to justice immediately!

The 69 innocent civilians who lost their lives as well as the 200 who were badly wounded many with permanent disability were bread winners, future bread winners and accomplished business people. Nevertheless, neither the families of the deceased nor the permanently disabled received any compensation in 18 years. This is a crime against humanity!! We urge the international community to hold the Ethiopian EPRDF/EPP’s government responsible for crimes against humanity and bring them to justice.

Sidama people overwhelmingly voted for statehood in 2019 and Sidama becomes the 10th federal regional state in Ethiopia

Furthermore, on November 20, 2019, the Sidama nation conducted a referendum on self-rule in which 98.52% endorsed the creation of a separate Sidama nation regional state. The overwhelming endorsement of self rule by the voters in the Sidama referendum was an endorsement of the cause for which the Loqqee victims sacrificed their lives and limbs.  They did not die and lose their limbs in vain!! We honour them and will continue to do so for generations to come.

However, the Sidama’s current administrators who were assigned by the SEPDM and their federal bosses to undermine self-rule by our people failed to secure a power transfer from the council of SNNPR which is a constitutional requirement to establish a new regional state.  It is the 7th month since the Sidama nation decided in a referendum to form its own regional state. However, the regional state for which over 250 Sidama civilians lost their precious lives since the Loqqee massacre has not materialised until today.

We are aware that the new deadline has been set by the House of Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance in lieu of the 2013 budget to finalize the formalisation of the Sidama National Regional State before the end of May 2012 EC. Besides, the Sidama cadres who were assigned by the federal and SEPDM to date are working against the national interest of the Sidama by deliberately ignoring the ongoing call of the nation for them to urge SNNPRS’s council to write a formal letter of power transfer.

Therefore, we earnestly for the first and last warn the Sidama’s current administration to ensure that the letter of power transfer from the council of the SNNPR is received before 28 May 2012 EC not only to finalize the pending constitutional process to formalize the Sidama national regional state but also to ensure the new regional state receives an equitable federal budget subsidy in the 2013 fiscal year.

Another unique celebration in Sidama regional state is Fichee-Chambalaalla, a New Year festival and a unifying symbol of the people. Sidama astrologers determine the correct date of this celebration every year.

Failing to do so or obliviously ignoring this urgent and pressing call; the current Sidama administrators will be held accountable for any further delay in the formalisation of the Sidama National Regional State. Finally, the current Sidama cadres also will be forced to vacate their offices should they fail to implement the outcome of the referendum any further by failing to meet the required deadline!

The Loqqee Massacre Victims, We Never Forget Your Selfless Sacrifices As We Stride Toward Achieving the Cause for Which You All Have Paid Ultimate Sacrifices with Your Precious Lives

Victory To The Sidama Nation!!

Victory To All Oppressed Nations In Ethiopia!
Issued by SNLF on May 23, 2020