The Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, 30 million, and their language is the fourth most spoken in Africa. Yet they are an invisible ethnicity in the eyes of the world.
In August 2011, Bekele Gerba, an English teacher at Addis Ababa University and prominent politician, met with a delegation from Amnesty International to discuss the human rights situation in Ethiopia. Gerba, a vocal activist on behalf of his largely Muslim Oromo people, was deputy chairman of the opposition party Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) and a member of the executive committee of Medrek, the country’s main opposition coalition.
To the Ethiopian government, however, Gerba was a terrorist. Four days after the meeting, he was arrested. In November 2012 Gerba was convicted and imprisoned under Ethiopia’s 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation for association with the banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which the government has asserted is linked with al-Qaeda affiliated entities. Continue reading The Oromo and the War on Terror in the Horn of Africa