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Dozens killed in Ethiopia referendum clashes

At least 25 people have died in clashes between Ethiopian security forces and activists in southern Ethiopia, BBC reported on Monday quoting hospital officials.

According to the officials, security forces fired bullets during the protests across the Sidama region where activists from the Sidama ethnic group were set to declare their own federal state on Thursday.

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They accused the government of failing to hold a promised referendum on the issue.

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“The Sidama are Ethiopia’s fifth biggest ethnic group, making up 4% of the population and are mainly based in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state,” BBC said, adding that “The four bigger communities all have their own regions within Ethiopia’s ethnically based federal system”.

Reports from activists and opposition groups cite a higher death toll with fatalities as high as 60, but the local acting security head Andinet Ashenafi warns against what he called exaggerated numbers, the BBC’s Kalkidan Yibeltal said from Addis Ababa.

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Mr Andinet confirmed to the BBC that four people were killed in the city of Hawassa and 26 others sustained wounds.

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