The History of Attacks on Oromo Businesses in Addis Ababa – THE FARDA GAARII MASSACRE, NOVEMBER 1952


The History of Attacks on Oromo Businesses in Addis Ababa – THE FARDA GAARII MASSACRE, NOVEMBER 1952

By Shamu Ali-Roba (Edao?), September 23, 2018

SENBETE, ETHIOPIA-MARCH 24: Local women do business in the sunday market. Senbete-Oromia zone-Amhara region-Ethiopia.

Given the attacks on Oromos, their businesses and livelihoods in Addis Ababa, it’s about time to bring this historic event “The FARDA GAARII MASSACRE, NOVEMBER 1952″. The horse seen here and the rider are both survivors of massacre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Let their history be told together. After all, horses are best friends of Oromos.

A shocking Glimpse behind the Scenes
The National Sunday Law of 1952 EC of Ethiopia
The Beginning and the Aftermath

For the young generation who may not have heard this.

It was just one year before the political incident known as Ye Tahisas Girrigirr-the December 1953 EC attempted coup by the Neway brothers. The day was Sunday, on a November day of 1952 EC. The month was marked by Ye Hidar Bashita (The November Disease Day). In SHAGGAR: all areas- Irrii Bekentu, Doro Manaqiya, Ferensay Legaasiyon, Dorze Safar, Djaz Shogale, Kasa Gabre, Gullallee, Kolfee, Iyesus, Qaraniyo, Nefas Silk, Awwaaree, Wube Bereha, Saaris, are ready to burn unwanted trashes to remove possible harbingers of disease. Every family participates in this burning culture set aside for Sunday. It was cross culture, race, or belief. That has never had any conflicts of interest that polarized nations along vested political interests.


But that Sunday turned out to be the day set aside to massacre the chariots used as a means of transportation replacing the dwindling “che-chento Tamuni” the Tricycle that was introduced into the country’s capital as a modern means of transportation using vehicle instead of on a horseback. Although there is no clear reason behind, the NEGARIT GAZETTA was issued to remove FARDA GAARII from SHAGGAR. The NAGARIT GAZETTA was not widely read also due to the insignificant number of literate people and the fact that the Gazetta was 25 cents per copy which was a big amount at that time.

Among the major causes for the MASSACRE to be perpetrated against the FARDA GAARII was that fact that that means of transportation was mainly owned by Oromos. Among owners of large number of FARDA GAARII were. AYANO BUTTA- biological father of the late Col. Tekka Tullu, Balambaras Guddata of Gullallee, Fitawurarii Tolasa of Burraayyuu, Aayyo Jufaaree of Gullallee, Fit. Gabbiso of Nifas Silk, and others owning more that 45-60 chariot horses. The hired labour forces to drive were also Oromos.

In those days Afaan Oromo was the widely used language of Commerce and personal chats apart from being forbidden to be spoken around schools, courts and other government building. Otherwise, only one school – Lycee Geber-Mariam Gaarii, the French Catholic School offered one class of moral education in Afaan Oromo. Lazarist closed down Afaan Oromo classes followed by Catholic Seminary at Cathedral. Only GANBO Catholic Mission School at NAGEELLEE ARSI and the DAANNOO BAROODDO Catholic Mission at Giinchii, DANDII continued offering in Afaan Oromo. The Meserete Krisitos in Dirree has long closed soon after the departure of father Mosses Gauche forced by Abyssinian over-lordship of Harar who accused him of tribalizing the school.

The reason for bringing these facts: ownership of Farda Gaarii, the labour forces that operated this means of transportation, and the attendant language usage is the consideration that this could be the main reason behind to brutal slump on the animal massacre Farda Gaarii Business activity- to uproot Oromo concentration in Shaggar and the business they run as an ethno-cultural and sole ownership of the business by Oromos especially, Furii, Badii, Yaayyaa Gullallee, Abichuu, Gajja, and migrant Garasuu and Adaa,Bargaa, Hidhabuu, Darroo Oromos from Salaalee area.

Back to the Point,

On a Sunday November day, the day most Coptic Orthodox Christians go to churches, instead every male person was armed with Goraadee, put on straw huts coloured by Ethiopian Flag, heavy sticks on one hand, some civilian owned regular guns, Alben, Minishir, Jambo, Belgique, Wajigra, and the likes were held by some licensed claimants of Italian era veterans. No one heard the news except those who were armed. Children were told not to play Gizee Bet and Biyyi on the roads. Women, especially pregnants were advised not to walk on the streets. AWWAARRE and AGOZA Gebeya were closed. GULLIT around QUCHIRA ban and GUUCARTU at Abyssinian Bank and Taffii around Muslem Symmetry were closed. Only Shoglaee and Kiyyoo gabaya around Bole air port were open. The open market around Mismar Taraa was lerft to Dorzee Hayizo cotton clothing business men. Gen. Dirassee Dubbaale and then Col, latyer Gen. Yilma Shibeshiiwere ordered to oversee the massacre to be staged. Emergency [police, Imperial Body Guard Unit, 4th Division HQ, and SAGON brigades where there is a large concentration of Oromo military personnel were not informed or not assigned to assist or partake, as it was later transpired.

It was later heard, Obbo Bekele Riqitu, one of the owners of large size FARDA GAARII, on that day challenged the great animal massacre that started in his own compound in Gullallee-and in a shoot out SEVEN people (Police inna Irmijja, Vol 4, No 23, p.1 and 4) died: two of his ex-slaves (1) Bajiga Riqitu, (2) Bulaa Riqitu, and one of solicitor, Zewdie Abdi’s ex-slave and guard, Horaa Abdi, while the rest were (four people) perpetrators of animal mass killing.

After the incident at Gullallee the rioters marched in anger to each house of Oromo notables who owned large number of FARDA GAARII and cows. Among these were the BD family who lost 16 horses and 41 cows at Laga QABBANA residence. The rest was a wholesale massacre of horses by stabbing and blinding including horse drivers if they resisted. On a Sunday of November 1952, bloodshed of horses and horse drivers coloured the streets with appalling traumatic scenario that showed the cruel, barbaric and savage act by the Abyssinians to uproot Oromos from Shaggar in the name of modernizing city by getting animals out of it. The Sunday November 1952 EC is A SHOCKING GLIMPSE BEHIND THE SCENES of A SUNDAY NATIONAL LAW of Ethiopia.

From that day on, Oromos of Shaggar, like Oromos of Wollo, were scared even to greet each other in Afaan Oromo. Children of horse pulled chariot owner were pulled out of school for fear and persecution to be followed. Firewood sales to Shaggar stopped. Milkmen from SULULTA, FURII, LAGA DAADHII, and the environs stopped entering SHAGGAR. Milk sales by STELLA MILK FACTORY based at RAPPEE boomed as competition by Oromo milk business was abandoned in fear. Col. W/Michael KALLACO of Bole closed his Dairy factory after losing his cattle by mass killing by rioting Habashas. Subsequent to that under the pretext that the city should be cleaned of dead animals schools were closed for two weeks. Children going distant schools on Farda Gaarii were unable to go to schools. Most Oromo school children were not enrolled one due to fear and due to the disruption of the economic base of their family.

Psychological shock caused by the loss of beloved animals disrupted the Oromo school children who directly experienced the shocking situation. Many Oromo families were to go to court or surrender their domestic animals or leave Shaggar or sell their animals to Ethiopian abattoirs. Many fled Shaggar in shock abandoning their houses and cattle. BETE-SAABUNYATA FIRAA or Ye BEETE-ZEMED IDDIR (the mutual self-help association in which Oromos were organized in were banned and replaced by Axxeqalaay IDDIR in which all ethnic groups by residential area can be involved against the ethnic and cultural groupings of convenience and trust. That was the final dismantling blow that shattered the livelihood and Oromo self-esteem in Shaggar in the 20th century as perpetrated on them by the Abyssinian black fascism.

Let it be remembered!

የታህሳስ 1953/1960 ግርግር | Ethiopia: Public Hangings of Mengistu Neway, Germame Neway and Their Followers (1960/61) from Gadaa on Vimeo.


  1. Dear Obbo Roba. Thank you, indeed, for sharing this key story and event in the Oromoo People’s History. Great job is done in exploring the documents from a poor and illiterate system. Bagga lubuun jiraatannii seenaa namma mararru kanna nuhn geeysan. It recalls a lot of interesting things, that there were early attempts to teach Affaan Oromoo at some schools in Finfinee; the wise Oromoo had an entrepreneurial idea of establishing a business like an urban dairy at that time. On the otherhand, those barbaric who were not, themselves, different from the animals have massacred the horses owned by the Oromoo. At least, it was the Oromoo Horsemen who saved the country from the Italian invasion a century ago. It was a crime against nature, too. A day comes when much of the untold History of the Oromoo people is uncovered, thanks to the brave and eloquent writers, ilmmaan Oromoo, like you. Jiraadhaa!


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