VII-8. The Roots of Contemporary Conflicts in the Horn of Africa

Conveners: Alemayehu Kumsa (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic); e-mail:, Abera Dagafa (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia)

We consider Horn of Africa in this panel the area which includes Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan. This part of Africa is known for its various chronic violent conflicts for a long time. During colonial era, territory of one nation had been divided between west European colonizers and Abyssinia- latter known as Ethiopia, the only Africa empire state which participated in the ‘scramble for Africa’. Majority of these violent conflicts are emanated from this historical time. The territory of Somali people was divided into five colonial enclaves, the homeland of the Afar people divided between French, Italy and Abyssinian colonies. Abyssinian empire state conquered and occupied its southern neighboring nations: Oromo, Kaffa, Sidama and other peoples, which became part of Menelik II new Empire of Ethiopia at the end of nineteenth century. Ottoman Empire led by Egyptians conquered and ruled Sudan 1821- 1885, Mahdist theocratic rule 1885-1898 and finally Anglo-Egyptian Condominium 1898-1956, which created the largest colonial territory known as Sudan. The papers of this panel will illustrate different types of conflicts of this part of Africa. The papers of the panel analyses:
- Intra-state conflicts between different peoples and the government of these states such as Darfur vis-à-vis Sudan Government; various peoples in Ethiopia with their different demands confronting the government for their given constitutional rights of the country;
- Inter-state conflicts between sovereign states of the region such as Ethio-Eritrean conflict which was started in 1998 and unsolved until today; the interference of Ethiopian and Kenyan governments into Somalian internal affairs under the cover of different reasons. The unsolved territorial conflict between Sudan and South Sudan on the area of Abyei region.
- Land grabbing is a new critical problem in the Horn of Africa, in which many governments particularly Ethiopian Government leasing millions of fertile farm lands for foreign and domestic commercial agricultural business investors, forcefully removing peasants from their ancestral lands, a good example is one of the causes of Oromo and Amhara (the 1st & 2nd largest nations in Ethiopia) non-violent protests in Ethiopia for more than a year.
- Addis Ababa “Master Plan”: Addis Ababa is the capital city of Oromia state and capital city of Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia (FDRE), in which economic and other Oromia state interests shall be respected according to FDRE constitution, but Addis Ababa municipality which is under the Federal Government publicized the Master Plan in 2014, which aimed to expand the territory of the city twenty times of the current area to Oromia state territory, which shocked the Oromo people, and non-violent protest started led by all Oromia Universities’ students from all corners of the state, research paper on this topic also will be presented.
- Horn of Africa as geopolitical strategic region: United States of America’s role will be analyzed, in the view of USA support for authoritarian governments of the region which has a negative effect for regional stability and peace.