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The Shinniga Oath: Oromo Martyrs' Day

Published June 9, 2024, 4:32 a.m. by FNN

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Commemorating Oromo Martyrs' Day

April 15th is a significant date for the Oromo people, a day to honor the martyred heroes and renew commitment to achieving the goals for which they gave their lives.

The organized struggle of the Oromo people since the 1960s has culminated in the establishment of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)/ Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). The Oromo have endured immense hardships and made great sacrifices in their fight against oppression. April 15th has been chosen as Oromo Martyrs' Day for a profound reason: on April 15, 1980, prominent leaders and founders of the OLF were martyred. These heroes, who played pivotal roles in initiating the armed struggle and establishing the Oromo Liberation Army, included the then front's Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and nine other key military officers. They were all martyred in a tragic event in Shinnigga, Somalia in 1980 as they were heading to Somalia to search for support to the Oromo struggle. The leaders were anbushed by Somali militants and were asked to separate by religion into Christians and Muslims but the leaders insisted they were Oromos and would not divide by religion. The Somali militants murdered all of them.   

Less than a year after this tragic loss, on December 21, 1980, another 17 comrades, including a long time chairperson of the OLF who currently chairs the OLF that returned back to Ethiopia in 2018 and registered to conduct non-violent struggle, Jaal Daawud Ibsa, were poisoned and all except Dawid Ibsa were martyred in Gidamii, Western Oromia. These sacrifices left an indelible mark on the history and spirit of the Oromo struggle.

The Oromo Martyrs' Day was first commemorated in 1984 by the then OLF Central Committee, and since 1985, it has been officially observed annually on April 15th. The day honors the memory of those who were martyred in the Somali Desert at Shinnigga on April 15, 1980, including:

  1. Comrade Bariso Wabe (Jaal Magarsa Bari) – The then OLF Chairperson
  2. Comrade Gada Gamada (Damise Tachane) – The then Deputy Chairperson of the OLF
  3. Comrade Abba Xiqi (Aboma Mitiku)
  4. Comrade Dori Bari (Yigazu Banti)
  5. Comrade Falmata /Umar Chachabsa
  6. Comrade Fafam Doyo
  7. Comrade Irana Qachale (Dhinsa)
  8. Comrade Dhadacho Boru
  9. Comrade Dhadacho Mulata and
  10. Comrade Mari Galan and
  11. Another member whose name was not specified was a team guide and he was the only one escaped and told the story.

April 15th serves as a day to remember these leaders and all those who have sacrificed their lives in the Oromo struggle for freedom, sovereignty, and justice. Every year, as in the past, the Oromo people continue their fight for national freedom, country independence, and the rights of their people. Thousands of victims of this struggle will be remembered and honored in various special ceremonies on April 15.

Finally, the Oromo celebrate Oromo Martyrs' Day with deep respect and gratitude, extending their solidarity and congratulations to comrades who are enduring hardships in prisons across the Ethiopian empire.
This year, the OLF-OLA launched a special offensive called Shinniga Oath Campaign (Dula Irbuu Shinnigga) against the imperial Ethiopian National Defense Force led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This campaign is led by OLF-OLA's high command Jaal Marro (Kumsa) Dirriba and other leaders. The campaign has weakened the ENDF such that the government has resorted to recruiting underage school children by force in Oromia. Among the victims are children under the age of 15 years. 


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