Wolaita, a zone in the Southern region of Ethiopia, struck with instability as the military detained the zone administration on Sunday, August 9, 2020 afternoon while they were having a meeting.
According to local reports, two people died, more than 15 were injured, in Boditi, a town in Wolaita, while businesses, transportations, and regular activities are still terminated and a high number of soldiers deployed in the zone.
Eyewitnesses have said they are still hearing gun fires in some parts of the Wolaita zone including the capital Wolaita Sodo, However, regional officials said peace has been restored in the zone.
More than 26 people including the chief administrator Dagato Kombe have been taken into custody on Sunday. The regional police and security authorities announced on regional TV that the command post detained the zonal administration for establishing “illegal arrangements ” to ignite violence in the region.
Alemayehu Bawdi, the region’s vice president and security chief, said that the detainees have been jointly working with groups defined by him as those who are working to break the nation.
He also said the zone administrators have been secretly sending people to attend meetings and receiving orders from Oromo Liberation Army (ONLF), an armed rebel group in western Oromia and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The Wolaita National Movement (WNM) a zonal party in Wolaita on its statement following the detention said the military suddenly and forcefully seized the core administration, local elders, local activists, and members of the newly formed council to facilitate the formation of Wolaita Regional State.
The WNM in its statement accused the federal and regional governments of converting the peaceful and constitutional request of the Wolaita people into violence and destruction.
The Military command post had taken over the security of The Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) including Wolita zone, since July 2019 after the region’s request for intervention following a crisis in the region resulted in the deaths of dozens and displacements of many.
In addition, the Wolaita zone administration got into a collision with the federal government and the SNNPR claiming that the government sidelined their request to become the second zone in the region to gain statehood status next to Sidama zone which became the tenth state of Ethiopia last year after having a referendum.