The Impact of Somali Nationalism on the Amhara-Somali Ethnic Interaction in Jigjiga Town and its Surroundings (1940s – 1990s)
The Amhara settled in Jigjiga and its surroundings following Emperor Minîlik’s imperial expansion to Ogaden in the 1880s. This resulted in the creation of garrisons and settlements in Ogaden. The Amhara were governors, soldiers and their followers who settled in the Somali land during the reigns of Emperor Minîlik and Emperor Haile Sillassie. The aim of this paper is to discuss the impact of Somali nationalism on the Amhara-Somali ethnic interaction in Jigjiga town and its surroundings from 1940s to 1990s. The study solely relied on qualitative data that were gathered through in-depth interviews and desk reviews. The gathered data were carefully analyzed and interpreted after they were crosschecked and classified into themes. The findings of the study indicate that there had been historical contradictions and resultant frequent violent and non-violent conflicts between the Amhara settlers (the political majority) and the Somali (the host community who were the political minority). The Somali identified the Amhara as representing alien rule that was imposed on them just to exploit and oppress them, while the Amhara developed contempt for the native Somali, being obsessed by the stiff resistances they posed against them and the imperial rule. The contradiction and dissension between the two groups had been in the making since the arrival of Minîlik’s conquering army in the Somali area but organized violent skirmishes and conventional wars began to take place since the 1940s due to the internal and external political factors; especially the Somali nationalism.
Keywords: Amhara; Conflicts; Nationalism; Relations; Somali