Gabra and Borana communities are the subdivision of Oromo nation and brothers who live side by side for centuries. They live both in Oromia and Kenya. They speak the same language, which is Afaan Oromo. They own Geda System in common that they protected and preserved up to date. In doing that, they fought against their enemies together and paid heavy sacrifices. Had it not been so they would have been irradiated or assimilated to be named after their invaders.
The situation by which they were/are surrounded forced them to become warriors and they use sticks (spears) and guns interchangeably. Borana and Gebra do have identical culture and a similar way of livelihood. Those settling on both sides of the border practice cattle raising and small-scale farming. Their cattle are numerous in number and best in breed. Lately they are catching up in business and education too.
These two communities shared not only culture and the same historical background but also the same geographical sphere. They also got divided along the unfortunate colonial border that separated many African nations which is a source of many conflicts and become the wellspring of our people’s agony. These communities found themselves into different countries with different political culture that in some instance not only creating confusion also causing instabilities. The instability along the border cost our communities peace and development opportunities.
It is very normal to find low-level resource-based disputes in any community. In this light we cannot deny the existence of such dispute among our brotherly communities and this dispute could be managed fairly by authorities but contrary to our expectation we witnessed the politicization of these disputes. Since 1991 when EPRDF came to power any little disagreement between communities used as their tool to implement divide and rule policy. Inciters in both Borana and Gabra have been funded and empowered by EPRDF regime. Despite our peace-loving people’s resistance to this malicious policy of incitement, the enemies of our people succeeded to the extent of creating non-existing scenario of dividing the Gebras and calling them “Gabra-Oromo” and “Gabra-Somali”. We shockingly witnessed and counted the cost of this bad policy in recent Moyale regional territory war between Somali and Oromo which our Gabra community fought from opposing sides.
The fight between Borana and Gabra is instigators project seems to continue non-stop. These communities coming from the same family and do have indistinguishable fate and destiny. Their enemies consider them one and the same. Before and even currently they fought/fight against their enemies on the same battlefield to safeguard and protect their properties and land.
Unfortunately, these brotherly communities used to fight and are still fighting for enigmatic reasons. As a result of that many lives had been lost and are being killed from both sides including children and mothers. Saddening! The enemies who incite them against one another enjoy the calamity whereas we the kinfolks of the communities are suffering from the heartbreak caused by the war.
Since we the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) operates near the area where the two communities live, we are aware of what takes place there. The clashes go on and off. There were times when we attempted to bring them together and help them settle their dispute. The effort could not bear lasting result because of the instigators of the conflict who benefit from this wrangle in one way or the other. It should be known that the enemies of the remaining Oromo tribes and clans are your enemies indeed. The main source of our problems is Ethiopian regime which works persistently to disunite Oromo at all cost with the aim of foiling our struggle for liberation.
We, the Oromo Liberation Army totally respects the current border set up and especially the territorial integrity and peace and prosperity of Kenya. We strongly believe that presence of Oromo communities in both territories should be the source of peace, stability, and harmonious co-existence along the border not the source of conflicts. We also appreciate Kenyan government action in taking appropriate measure to contain the situation and restore peace along the border and stop this unnecessary loss of lives and destruction of properties.
Dear our Borana and Gebra brothers,
This unfounded conflict between you two should stop for the last time. It benefits none of you, but your common enemies.
We the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) love and treat you impartially. We like you to live in harmony. We do practically contribute to your sincere negotiation that leads to absolute reconciliation. Please, listen to those who long for peace among you and determined to bring you together and unite you forever. You are much better when together.
Victory to the Oromo people!
High Command of the Oromo Liberation army
September 16, 2019