The forgotten tribes of Oromo in Somalia
By Abas Eenow
April 14, 2009
A woman from the Oromo tribe participates in a cultural dance during celebrations to mark Ethiopia`s Nations, Nationalities Peoples` Day at the Mascel square in Addis Ababa, December 9, 2008.
If you go back to the oral history of the Somali people, you will understand that Hargeeysa (North) and Garbohareey (South) are actually Oromo names and literally Galkacyo means, "Where the Oromo has been kicked out".
A long time ago, most of the current Somali territories in the horn of Africa belonged to the larger Cushitic nationality of Oromo known by the Somalis as Galla and others. For hundreds of years, until the end of the 19th century, the nomadic Somali tribes have invaded and forcefully occupied parts of the present state of Somalia which was populated by non-ethnic Somali ethnic groups. During their expansion, the Somali pastoral warriors have evicted the majority of the Oromo and other non Somali tribes from their land and forced those who remained to be assimilated. In the course of these campaigns, Oromo tribes such as
Boran, Rendiile and others have been dislodged from their territories of origin inside Somalia and these communities are found in Kenya & Ethiopia. In fact large number of them such as Wa Boni and Gaalbore have been partially integrated and have taken nominal Somali tribal names although still considered inferior to noble Somali tribes. Most of them live among the Digil & Mirifle tribe of the South.
But Oromos who declined to convert and refused to become clients to the Somalis tribesman were subjected to aggression and discrimination like Ribo (raybo), Wardey (Waradaya) in the South and Lo`jir in the North. If you go back to the oral history of the Somali people, you will understand that Hargeeysa (North) and Garbohareey (South) are actually Oromo names and literally Galkacyo means, " Where the Oromo has been kicked out "
Overall, the Somali war of " Force occupation " has been stopped by the British colonial administration in the late of the 19th century after the British has realized that the wandering warlike tribes would cross over the Tana river in Kenya and into great lake region. After the Somali civil, the Somali tribes of Oromo origin who were unarmed were robbed, raped and killed in wanton.
In regards to the minority groups in the failed state of Somalia a lot of reports have been written over the plight and the suffering of ethnic clans but, unfortunately, the Somali tribes of Oromo origin such as Ribo , Wardeey and others have not been mentioned . Therefore, as there is no hope that a democratic state will come out of Somalia in the foreseeable future, we demand from human rights organizations to correct their mistakes so that, at least, the rights of these communities are recognised by international organizations.
The author is an activist for the Oromo-Somalis
© Copyright © 2009 Sudan Tribune - All rights reserved.
Oromo people living in Somalia urge Ethiopia to release arrested tribesmen
BBC Monitoring Africa
March 04, 2009
Members of the Oromo tribe have requested the Somali and Ethiopian governments to release close to 200 members from their tribe who have been arrested by Ethiopian troops during their presence in Somalia.
Speaking to Shabelle today, Dayib Umar Teeso who is an official of the Oromo Community in Mogadishu said Ethiopian troops arrested close to 200 Oromo members in Mogadishu during their stay in Somalia.
Dayib said those who have been arrested by Ethiopian troops in Somalia are currently being held in a town called Hawasa in Ethiopia and that their situation is worsening in detention.
He said many of these Oromo people were arrested by Ethiopian troops from the neighbourhoods of Hodon, Howlwadaag and Huriwaa where Ethiopian troops were fighting insurgent groups.
Dayib called upon the new Somali government to assist in securing the release of these Oromo people who have been arrested from Somalia.
The official of the Oromo Community in Somalia also asked the Ethiopian government to release the detained as soon as possible and without any conditions.
The statement by the official of the Oromo community in Mogadishu comes at a time when many of those who had been arrested by Ethiopian troops, during their presence in Somalia and were fighting by insurgent groups, have gone missing.
Ethiopian troops arrested many people in various neighbourhoods in Mogadishu.
Source: Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 3 Mar 09
© 2009 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
The carrot and the stick for the Oromo
The Indian Ocean Newsletter
November 22, 2008
While claiming he is willing to negotiate with the Oromo Liberation Front rebels, the Ethiopian Prime Minister is making life hard for the legal Oromo opposition.
The strategy of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi towards the Oromo community, hardly his most loyal supporters, is relatively complex. On the one hand, he has just taken two of the Oromo People`s Democratic Organisation (OPDO, member of the governing coalition) leaders, Mukhtar Kedir and Shiferaw Jarso, as his advisors. Kedir has a bright future ahead of him: Vice President of the Oromia Regional State, he became advisor to Meles Zenawi with the rank of minister and could soon be promoted to deputy secretary general of the EPRDF (governing coalition).
Similarly, Meles Zenawi is giving a free reign to a triumvirate of mediators with the task of contacting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF, Eritrean-backed Ethiopian rebel movement) to offer negotiations with the Ethiopian government (ION 1244). These negotiators - Berhanu Dinka (a former ambassador), Abera Tola (an Oxfam representative) and church minister Daniel Gebreselassié from Atlanta – have not, at least for the time being, obtained the agreement of the present OLF leaders and have to make do with talking to their sidekicks.
But at the same time as he is showing signs opening up to the Oromo, Meles Zenawi does not hesitate to clamp down indiscriminately on Oromos from all walks, hurriedly accusing them of being members of the OLF. Two small legal opposition parties, the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) led by Bulcha Demeksa and the Oromo People`s Congress (OPC) led by Merera Gudina, have just confirmed that about a hundred Oromos have been detained in secret illegally since 30 October, on the pretext that they supported the OLF. Among them are: the general secretary of the OFDM, Bekele Jirata; a lecturer from Addis-Ababa University, Asefa Tefera Dibaba; several students; the owner of the Hawi Hotel, Eshetu Kitili and his brother; the journalist Leslie Wodajo, and Kebede Borena, the deputy manager of the Addis Ababa Hilton Hotel. Tactics that are hardly likely to smooth matters with the Oromo community!
© Copyrights 2008 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved
Hundreds charged with seeking to `wipe out certain` tribes in western Ethiopia
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Oromo Students in Minneapolis, USA
The government has charged 147 people in court in the western Benishagul Gumuz Region with seeking to "completely or partially wipe out" a certain community in the area, reported a privately-owned newspaper on 7 November.
The suspects included three assistant inspectors of police and two constables, reported the Embilta newspaper, which is published from the capital Addis Ababa.
The group was charged on 24 Tikemet 2001 (Ethiopian calendar, 3 November 2008), but only 123 of the defendants were present in court. The prosecutor asked the police to ensure that the remaining 23 were also arraigned in court.
The trial is being presided by judges Adem Ibrahim, Assefa Abreha and Zerihun Boda of the Federal Second Criminal Court.
The paper cited the prosecutor accusing the suspects of wounding and killing 98 Oromo farmers, raping one woman, burning 300 houses, and stealing cattle, clothes and food from the victims.
The suspects were divided into four groups and charged with different counts, added the paper.
The first group of 67 defendants was accused of assembling arms and distributing them for violent intentions in the Benishagul Gumuz and Oromiya regions. According to the prosecutor, this happened between 8-23 Tir 2000 (8 January-1 February 2008). The affected areas were Anger Shenkora, Engewoch Anger Mite, Saydolcha, Sege, Didiga Horowota, and the Dom Tena Ayda neighbourhoods. The prosecutor alleged that some 105 assailants attacked Oromos residing in these areas with firearms. At least 98 people - adults, youths and children - were killed after being attacked with guns and spears.
The second group numbering 36, and who also included some of those accused murder, were charged with setting on fire 300 houses and destroying household items, clothes, and foodstuff.
The third lot of 16 defendants were charged with raping one woman. It was alleged that they raped her after killing people and burning their houses in the East Wolega Zone, Lemu District, in western Ethiopia.
The fourth group of 35 suspects were accused of organizing and arming themselves with firearms and "endangering the peace and security of the people". They were also charged with stealing cattle, different properties, including clothes and crops that "belonged to peaceful farmers in the area".
The defendants have been transferred from the Dedesa Training Centre in Wolega (western Ethiopia) to the Kaliti Prison, which is located south of Addis Ababa.
The defendants requested the government to hire a lawyer for them, and the court has postponed their request to 8 Hidar 2002 (17 November 2008).
© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.