“For generations, members of the Geri and Borena Oromo lived in Arero Wereda, Borena Zone in Oromiya region. Both ethnic groups are represented in the executive body of the wereda council. While working together in the council, they were faced with a serious problem that they were unable to resolve. This problem had to do with ownership of land which both groups claimed beginning from 1991. To date, the wereda council has been unable to resolve this dispute over land. The Borena Oromo have since been telling the Geri saying, “The land on which you are now living has been ours for a long time. At the present moment you are using our grazing land and water wells”, telling them at the same time to vacate the area. The Geri, on their part, refused to leave the area, asserting that the land is also theirs. After that, the dispute between the two ethnic groups worsened and led to a serious conflict.
The misunderstanding and hatred between the two groups that had been muffled for many years finally broke out in the violent attack of the Geri by the Borena at about 9 o’clock in the evening of September 7, 2000. A coalition of some 60 Borena and Guji Oromo, armed with modern and traditional weapons, attacked Geri residents of Meta Gefersa in Borena Zone, Arero Wereda, causing considerable destruction to human life and property.”
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