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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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The 10th Anniversary of the Loqqe Massacre of Sidama Civilians Coincides with the
Formation of ‘United Sidama Parties for Freedom and Justice’ USPFJ!
Press Release by ‘USPFJ’
May 24, 2012
The Loqqe Massacre of the Sidama Civilians,
On May 24, 2002, Sidama people of all walks of life staged on 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 Current Political Developments in Sidama and Ethiopia at large
The Ethiopian government continues to grossly violate fundamental rights of its citizen disregarding its own constitution that unequivocally guarantees these. The basic human rights and freedom of expression and assembly are not respected. There is no serration of powers and checks and balances in state apparatus. The legislative, the executive and the judiciary branches of government do not function independently. The defense and police forces solely serve the interest of the regime. People are incriminated for their political  views, opinions, and their affiliation and for being members of certain ethnic/national groups. Currently, the Sidama people are reduced to virtual slaves in their own land where a very few renegades trade by their names.

Abject poverty, deprivation, extra-judiciary arrests and killings and human misery characterize the lives of the majority of the citizens of the entire country. Sidama is not
immune to the above. The security forces of the current regime indiscriminately fire into
peacefully demonstrating crowds that claim constitutional rights enshrined in the constitution promulgated by the regime itself and collectively massacre hundreds with
absolute impunity. 

The culprits and miscreants widely circulate among the society creating unstoppable havoc.The regime is so virulent to any opposing ideas contrary to its malicious ideologies of brutalizing citizens and targeting all without distinction. Citizens of the country live in an atmosphere where relentless intimidation and surveillance is a daily phenomenon. The
regime’s politicians expropriate the resources of Sidama as well as the entire country by
leaving the majority with absolute poverty.

Although the degree to which the Sidama people are subjugated differs, all peoples of
Ethiopia are being collectively repressed and punished by the incumbent regime for their
views and for being ‘who they are’. There is no safe heaven for all who are being ruled by the incumbent regime. Thus, the need to work together to ensure the transfer of power to the people is increasingly becoming a matter of survival for all involved. Cognizant of this fact, three hitherto independent Sidama political organizations came together to form a united front for freedom and justice under the banner of ‘United Sidama Parties for Freedom and Justice’ (USPFJ) on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Loqqe massacre, i.e. May 24,2012 whilst globally Commemorating Sidama victims of atrocity.

Brief Background on Sidama Resistance Movements
The Sidama people had never accepted the conquest of King Minelik II since the early
1890s peacefully. Several initial attempts by the invading army were repulsed by the
Sidama heroes and heroines. Leulesged and Beshah Aboye, the two famous war leaders of
the said King, met formidable resistance from the Sidama people. The first wave of
Menellik’s invading army was fully defeated by the gallant Sidama warriors led by their
(Mottes) kings and Gaadana (war leaders). However, the second wave of invaders came up with superior and the then modern weaponry provided to them by their European colonial counterparts to consolidate their grip onto the Sidamaland and its resources to tame the nation for eternal subjugation. Several atrocities were committed by the invading army during pre and post WWII periods as to avenge those armed resistance movements. Some villages were totally wiped out with their entire population amounting to genocide.

The Sidama people however continued their resistance for the last 122 years albeit limited success. The current derive to consolidate the fragmented Sidama political movements signifies the importance of preserving the achievements of the liberation struggles of our forefathers and forge ahead in unison for self determination.

Sidama Opposition Parties and the Need for a United Voice
The Sidama Liberation Movement (SLM), Sidama Liberation Front (SLF) and Sidama National Liberation Organization (SNLO) are a continuation of over 120 years of resistance movements of the wider Sidama nation for freedom, justice, and self-determination. The
USPFJ aims at harnessing political, economic, social and cultural advancement of the Sidama people. It also strives to forge alliances with likeminded political and nonpolitical
organizations that work towards asserting justices, freedom, liberty and equality of opportunity to all Ethiopians where the ultimate goal shall be enabling the majority to determine their own destiny.
In light of such extremely appalling situation that all Ethiopians are in general and the
Sidama people are in particular are; the Sidama Liberation Movement, Front and National
Liberation Organization agree to create a conceptual understanding on the need to have an Umbrella organization whose main objective is to mobilize and lead popular struggle that enables the Sidama people to exert consorted pressure to bring an end to the highly
repressive and authoritarian system that reduced the lives of its citizens to a virtual slavery under its deceitful tactics of ‘Divide-And-Rule’. Therefore, the Sidama opposition parties unanimously agree that the collective approach to bring an end to the suffering of the Sidama people primarily and the wider peoples of Ethiopia at large shall be paramount.

The need for a globally collaborative action to stop the Sufferings of Ethiopians!
In the light of the available evidences on the nature, attitude, behaviors and practices of the incumbent Ethiopian regime that depersonalized, dehumanized and reduced its subjects to virtual objects where its political cadres use and throw them as perishable items:-
· The USPFJ urges all Sidama people within the country as well as in Diaspora to stand shoulder to shoulder in their attempt to work towards ending the vicious circles of injustice and systematically denigrating treatment imposed on Sidama people by the incumbent regime.
· The USPFJ calls up on international community in particular Western politicians to hold the incumbent regime solely accountable for the Loqqe massacre of the Sidama civilians on May 24, 2002 and request an independent inquiry into the massacre where the culprits are brought to an independent justice.
· The USPFJ calls up on all likeminded Ethiopia related liberation movements, democracy loving civic and political organizations and personalities, religious groups and intelligentsia to condemn the incumbent regime’s uncivilized treatment of its citizens and work towards common ground for the best interests of all Ethiopians where the fruit of struggle shall be enjoyed equally by all.
· The USPFJ calls upon UN, OAU, HRW, AI, and others organizations to condemn the undemocratic and authoritarian nature of the current regime that keeps its citizens as virtual slaves in their own lands.
· The USPFJ calls upon the International and Regional organization to support all genuine democratic movements with care and sensitivity.
· We urge the incumbent regime to unconditionally stop mass killings of Oromo, Somali, Amhara, Sidama, Afar, Gambella’s Agnuak, Kefa Shaka….and all Ethiopian nations that raise the issues of their fundamental rights to freedom and self determination; and requests to stop stifling freedom of expression and unconditionally release all political prisoners and journalists.
· Finally, the USPFJ calls upon all Ethiopian related democracy cherishing organizations, establishments, fronts, movements and others to put their differences aside and stand shoulder to shoulder to fight common enemy to genuine democratic principles, justice, liberty, freedom and equality of opportunity to all Ethiopian without distinction.

May the souls of innocent Sidama victims of the Loqee massacre as well as victims of
similar other atrocities carried out across the country by the incumbent regime rest in peace until justice prevails on their behalf!! We salute you all who have paid and are paying precious sacrifices of your lives for liberty and justice in the country!
United Sidama Parties for Freedom and Justice (USPFJ) May 24, 2012

Bath City


 the city of Hawassa

A proposal to twin Bath with a city in Ethiopia has been discussed by councillors.
The Ethiopian ambassador Berhanu Kebede visited the city this week to meet the Mayor of Bath and discuss the possibility of a twinning arrangement with the city of Hawassa.
He was taken to Fairfield House, in Newbridge, which was the home of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie during an exile in the UK between 1936 and 1941. It is this historic link which is the driving force behind the proposal to secure a formal bond between Bath and the African city.
Mr Kebede said: "We know this history of this city and how our emperor used to live here and we want to establish a relationship with this historic city.
"I have heard from people that the emperor was thankful to the people of Bath during his time of trials and the people of Bath gave him full hospitality and support."
He added that there were common links between Hawassa and Bath, with any possible twinning arrangement allowing them to build on the fact that they are both tourist destinations.
"An issue which needs to be addressed is how to forge a win-win situation. I'm sure we can find a common ground where the two cities can benefit from this relationship."
Mayor Bryan Chalker, who as the chairman of the Charter Trustees will be involved with the decision on whether Bath should be twinned with Hawassa, said he was supportive of the idea.
He said: "It is a wonderful idea. Particularly in view of the fact that Haile Selassie was given the freedom of the city. He still commands a tremendous amount of respect, so to have his excellency and his aides with us today is a privilege.
"I'm always supportive of anything to promote relationships between different countries and cultures."
The Charter Trustees of the City of Bath, a body which is made up of councillors, has responsibility for twinning links and it will be their decision if a new link with Hawassa is given the go-ahead.
It is not known how long the decision-making process is likely to take, but the plans are at an early stage and the group met to discuss the proposal for the first time this week.
The last city to be officially twinned with Bath was Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, which after a long period of informal links signed an arrangement 22 years ago.