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News: Security forces in Wolaita detain prominent scholar, opposition member Asefa Wodajo

Former Assistant Professor of Dilla University Asefa Wodajo. Picture: Personal Facebook

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Abeba: Security forces in Sodo city, the capital of Wolaita zone in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state, detained, once again, Asefa Wodajo, a notable proponent of Wolaita Statehood and central committee member of the opposition, Wolaita National Movement (WNM), the party and his wife confirmed to Addis Standard.

The former lecturer at Dilla University, Asefa was reportedly detained on Sunday, 07 August by security forces, his wife Montewab Gebreselassie said. She added that their residence was also searched. Until the publishing of this news, Asefa has not been brought to a court and the reasons for his detention remains unclear.

Amanuel Mogiso, Chairman of WNM, in his part said that the party was not aware of why Asefa was detained but indicated that they believe it might have been connected with Asafa’s outspoken activism for Wolaita statehood.

Addis Standard asked the chairman if there were protests and further insecurity in Sodo which were being reported on different social media platforms. But Amanuel said that “this is false”, and refuted claims that there were demonstrations on Saturday in the zone in connection with the newly proposed restructuring in the SNNP. The Council of Wolaita zone is one of the zones along with Gamo, Gedeo, Gofa, Konso, and South Omo zone, as well as five Special Woredas: Ale, Amaro, Burji, Basketo, Derashe Special Woredas which are expected form one regional state after the HoF approved the request submitted to the speaker of the House by SNNP Council deputy speaker last week.

Asafa Wodajo has been one of dozens of individuals to have spent months in detention until recently.

The Wolaita zone has been the epicenter of persistent tension between security forces and civilians following the zonal request for statehood by the Wolaita zonal council. Opposition party members, journalists, civil servants and activists have been in and out of police detention in the last two years.

Recently, Addis Standard has published a series analyses on the topic of Wolaita statehood and subsequent political trajectory in the zone. AS

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