United Sidama Parties for Freedom and Justice (USPFJ) formed |
The 10th Anniversary of the Loqqe Massacre of Sidama Civilians Remembered
Press Release | May 24, 2012
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 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:-
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
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