At least three people have died in Ethiopia’s southern city of Hawassa, amid clashes between state security forces and some local activists who want to declare a new region for their Sidama ethnic group.
General Manager of Hawassa Referral Hospital, Zinaw Serniso said the hospital has received 12 injured civilians in the last two days, three of whom died.
Some had fractured bones after being hit with batons and others had been shot, he added.
On Thursday, a Sidama opposition party agreed to delay declaring their own region and accept a government offer to hold a referendum in five months.
However, not all Sidama people accepted the decision to delay the declaration. Youthful activists in the country claim they were not consulted and were further angered when security forces prevented public meetings being held to discuss the situation.
Regional state Police Commissioner Tewodros Woldemichael confirmed that relative peace prevailed in Hawassa and nearby areas and they are working to restore peace in areas affected by the violence.
At least eight other ethnic groups besides the Sidama in Ethiopia also want their own regions.