Anniyyaa Oromo

Anniyyaa Oromo is an Oromo group belonging to the Baarentuu moiety or division of the Oromo nation. They were part of three major tribal divisions that migrated from Bale to Hararghe during the 16th century. The other two were the Afran Qallo and Qottu and the Ittu. The Afran Qallo settled in the central highlands around the city of Harar. The Anniya settled in the vast region of Gara Mulata, while the Ittuu settled in Carcar/western Hararghe. The Anniya are bordered by the Afran Qallo in the north, the Ittu in the west, the Arsi Oromo in the south and the Somalis in the east. For almost a century, the Anniya, the Afran Qallo and the Ittuu had a common caffee assembly at Odaa Bultum in the heart of Ittuu land. Every 8 years, the representatives of the three groups met at Odaa Bultum to discuss and pass laws that governed them for the next 8 years. This means Odaa Bultum was the political nerve-center and the sacred ground for the Anniya, Afran Qallo and the Ittuu. However, in the late 17th or early 18th century, the Anniya broke away from the central caffee at Odaa Bultum and made their own caffee at Burqa Tirtira in the Gara Mulata region.

The Anniya are divided into two major groups: Kodelle and Sadacha. The Kodelle section, in turn, is divided into Bidu, Anna, Kooyyee and Macca, while the Sadacha section is divided into Molkootu, Baabbo and Bambi. During the 17th and 18th century, while the Afran Qallu and the Ittuu mode of food production was transformed from pastoralism to sedentary agriculture the Anniya remained pastoralists up to the 19th century. This was because of the environment in which they settled. The vast lowlands of the Gara Mulata region are rich in good pasturage. The region enjoys adequate rainfall and is also watered by major rivers such as Ramis and Moggo and a number of others that join the Wabe Shabelle.
The valleys of these rivers are rich in wild life, where young Anniya men traditionally hunted elephants, lions, buffalo and other game. It was only during the 19th century that the majority of the Anniya adopted sedentary agriculture. Even today, small elements of the anniya Oromo who follow a traditional way of life and, consequently, are untouched by urbanization, modernization and industrialization. There are only a few towns in their area.

Of all the Oromo of Eastern Oromia, the Anniya were the last to become Muslim and they are also the last to receive the benefits of modern education, medical facilities and a transportation and communication system. And yet, it is the same region that has had a tradition of resistance against successive Ethiopian regimes for decades. The Oromo Liberation front started operating in the Anniya region in 1976. Of all the Oromo of Hararghe, it was the Anniya who suffered most from the Ethio-Somali war of 1977-1978 and the Mengistu Haile Mariam regime’s search-and-destroy policy of the 1980s.’’

[Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: A-C; pages 273-276]


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