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Negele Boran
Negele Boran is located in Ethiopia
Negele Boran
Location within Ethiopia
Coordinates: 5°20′N 39°35′E / 5.333°N 39.583°E / 5.333; 39.583
Country Ethiopia
Region Oromia
Zone Guji
Elevation 1,475 m (4,839 ft)
Population (2005)
 - Total 42,958
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Negele Boran (or Neghelle) is a town in southern Ethiopia. Located in the Guji Zone of the Oromia Region on the road connecting Addis Ababa to Dolo Odo, it has a latitude and longitude of 5°20′N 39°35′E / 5.333°N 39.583°E / 5.333; 39.583Coordinates: 5°20′N 39°35′E / 5.333°N 39.583°E / 5.333; 39.583 with an altitude of about 1475 meters above sea level. It is the administrative center of Liben woreda. Negele Boran's principal importance is that a barrack revolt in this town is considered the first incident of the Ethiopian Revolution.[1]

Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Negele Boran has an estimated total population of 42,958 of whom 22,193 were males and 20,765 were females.[2] The 1994 national census reported this town had a total population of 23,997 of whom 12,036 were males and 11,961 were females.

The town is reported to have telephone service, a post office and electricity, as well as at least one primary and one secondary school, but no financial institutions.[3] The electrical power was introduced by a branch of the Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority (EELPA), and in January 1961 a diesel-driven 120 kW electric power plant for the town was completed.[4] A 2004 report states that Negele Boran is supplied with electricity by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (the successor utility to the EELPA) from the national grid.[5] There is also an airport (ICAO code HANG IATA EGL). Negele Military Base, an important installation of the Ethiopian Army, is located to the northeast.

Philip Briggs describes Negele Boran as "something of a frontier town, a cultural boiling pot that is predominantly Oromo but also has strong Somali, Borena, and Muslim influences. ... Negele's distinctive character and cultural blend are personified in one of the most lively and absorbing markets in East Africa -- especially on Sundays when the camel market is held."[6]


The town of Negele was founded in the early 20th century; the Swedish doctor F. Hylander described it in 1934 as an "Amhara new settlement and fortress with palisades", which was "the farthest outpost towards Jubaland".[4]

At the beginning of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War from 4 October 1935, Negele served as the headquarters of Ras Desta Damtew The Italians subjected the town to frequent bombing raids.[4] The Italians under General Rodolfo Graziani captured the town shortly after their victory at the Battle of Ganale Dorya, which further weakened the southern Ethiopian defenses.[7]

The town was occupied by the British Gold Coast Brigade on 27 March 1941, who had pushed north from Dolo.[8] The British colonial unit found that the Italians had abandoned the settlement 10 days before they arrived, and in the time between the buildings had been looted and destroyed by the neighboring Borena Oromo.[4] By the time David Buxton visited Negele Boran in 1943, he found that a battalion of the Ethiopian Army had garrisoned this "half-built Italian settlement".[9]

The Norwegian Lutheran Mission operated a station in Negele from 1949. Their most important activity was to start a hospital for the town in one of the abandoned Italian buildings, which they operated until 1956 when the Ministry of Public Health took it over. In 1958, Negele was one of 27 places in Ethiopia ranked as First Class Township.[4]

On 12 January 1974, enlisted men and non-commissioned officers of the Fourth Brigade stationed at the Military Base protested over their substandard living conditions. "There was nothing new about discontent among soldiers serving in the desolate conditions in these far-flung garrisons," note Marina and David Ottaway. "The heat was unbearable, the food barely edible, and the water was bad or in short supply". The last straw was when the officers refused to let the soldiers use their well after their own water pump broke down. The soldiers arrested their superior officers and petitioned Emperor Haile Sellasie for redress of their grievances. The Emperor sent Lieutenant-General Deresse Dubale to investigate the matter; the mutineers took him prisoner, forced him to eat and drink as they did, then tied him up and put him under a tree for eight hours while they negotiated with the defense ministry. Furious, the Emperor sent two bombers to overfly the garrison and intimidate them to release Deresse, but did not punish the soldiers. The whole incident was hushed up for a while.[10]

During the Ogaden War, the Somali Army attempted to capture Negele Boran throughout August 1977, but the local garrison was able to successfully beat back the attacks.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Bahru Zewde (2001). A History of Modern Ethiopia (second ed.). Oxford: James Currey. ISBN 0-85255-786-8.  
  2. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
  3. ^ "Socio-economic profile of the Gudji Zone" Government of Oromia Region (last accessed 26 May 2008)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Local History in Ethiopia" (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 27 May 2008)
  5. ^ Woreda administration sources, as quoted in Final Report for Aposto-Wendo-Negele (World Bank Report E1546, vol. 1), pp. 71f
  6. ^ Philip Briggs, Ethiopia: The Bradt Travel Guide, 3rd edition (Chalfont St Peters: Bradt, 2002), p. 421.
  7. ^ Henze, Paul B. (2000). Layers of Time, A History of Ethiopia. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 0-312-22719-1.  
  8. ^ Mockler, Anthony (2003) [1984]. Haile Selassie's War. New York: Olive Branch. ISBN 1-56656-473-5.  
  9. ^ David Buxton, Travels in Ethiopia, second edition (London: Benn, 1957), p. 91
  10. ^ Marina and David Ottaway, Ethiopia: Empire in Revolution (New York: Africana, 1978), pp. 45f
  11. ^ Gebru Tareke, "The Ethiopia-Somalia War of 1977 Revisited", International Journal of African Historical Studies, 2000 (33, #3), pp. 635ff at p. 647. (accessed 13 May 2009)


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