Name of leader          Wago Gutu Usa

 

Alt. spelling                      Waqu, Wako, Usu

Organization                   Oromo Liberation Army

 

Conflict country             Ethiopia

 

Gender                             Male   

    

Year of birth                    1924

 

Place of birth                  near Madda Walabuu, at the village of Odaa, Ethiopia

 

Year of death                  2006

 

Deceased

 

Yes, he did in 2006 of unknown causes.

 

Birth order

 

His birth order is unknown.

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

Wago Gutu was an initiator of the Bale guerilla movement in 1963.[1] He was 39 at the time. This movement gave rise to the Somali Abbo Liberation Front (SALF).[2] He was also a leader of the United Oromo People’s Liberation Front.[3]

 

Leader entry method

 

His leader entry method is unclear. Most sources refer to Wago Gutu as “emerging” rather than giving more specific information about election or seizing control of the organization.[4]

 

Powersharing

 

No, there is no evidence of powersharing.

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

His educational background is unknown.

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Wago Usu had children and was probably married.

 

Children

 

Yes, Wago was survived by 20 sons and 17 daughters.[5]

 

Religious identification

 

His religious identification is unknown. According to one source, Waqo Gutu was “A member of traditional sacred Oromo spiritualists, [the] Qallu […]”[6] Wago apparently was given a qubee meetaa (ring) from his uncle that was a symbol of the Qallu.[7]

 

Elite family background

 

Wago was “from the Rayitu clan of Arsi,” and there is some indication that his family was religiously influential.[8] [9]

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made

 

No, there is no evidence of political affiliations.

 

Physical and mental health

 

No, there is no evidence of poor physical or mental health.

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

His occupation is unknown.

 

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No, there is no evidence of experience in a state military.

 

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

The Somalis trained “a cadre of insurgent leaders, foremost among them an Oromo named Wako Gutu, who was given the rank of general.”[10] This does not appear to be the work of official Somali armed forces, but other nonstate military groups.

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence of combat experience.

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence he held a government position.

 

Lived in exile?

 

Whether he lived in exile is unclear. One source referenced his living as a refugee in Kenya.[11]

 

Study abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he studied abroad.

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

Yes, “sometime in the early 1960s, Waqo Gutu and few companions embarked on a mission to neighboring Somalia to acquire military training and modern weapons. Shortly after, they returned to Madda Walabuu, about 600kms south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to militarily challenge feudal landlords.”[12]

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad.

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

No, there is no evidence he served time in prison.

 

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

 

No, there is no evidence of an assassination attempt by the state.

 

Cause of Death?

 

His cause of death is unknown.

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

The languages he spoke are unknown.

 

 

[1] Asafa Jalata, “Speaking in the Language the Colonialists Understand: The Case of the Bale Oromo Armed Struggle,” a paper delivered at the 50th Anniversary of the Oromo revolt, 2013, https://freedomfororomo.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/speaking-in-the-language-the-colonialists-understand/

[2] Terje Ostebo, Muslim Ethiopia: The Christian Legacy, Identity Politics, and Islamic Reformism, (Springer, 2013), 54.

[3] Terje Ostebo, Localising Salafism: Religious Change Among Oromo Muslims in Bale, Ethiopia, (BRILL, 2011), 292.

[4] Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, 1855-1991, (Ohio University Press, 2002), 216.

[5] Lemi Kebebew, “The Father, Leader of Oromo Struggle Passes Away,” February 10, 2006, Accessed November 15, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20070312220851/http://www.oromiagov.org/newsdetail.asp?NewsID=110.

[6] Mohammed Ademo, “Commemorating 50 Year of Oromo Struggle led by General Wago Gutu,” OPride, 2013, https://www.opride.com/2013/10/15/commemorating-50-years-of-oromo-struggle-led-by-waqo-gutu/

[7] Terje Ostebo, Localising Salafism: Religious Change Among Oromo Muslims in Bale, Ethiopia, (BRILL, 2011), 192.

[8] Kadiro A. Elemo, “Remembering the past to advance the Oromo struggle forward,” Free Oromia, 2013,  http://freeoromia.blogspot.com/2013_09_08_archive.html

[9] Terje Ostebo, Localising Salafism: Religious Change Among Oromo Muslims in Bale, Ethiopia, (BRILL, 2011), 192.

[10] Paul Henze, Rebels and Separatists in Ethiopia: Regional Resistance to a Marxist Regime, (United States Department of Defense, 1985), 31.

[11] Nagran Mahtama Sidrak, Silvan: Refugees Crossing the Gulf of Aden, a Perilous Journey, (Xlibris Corporation, 2017).

[12] Mohammed Ademo, “Commemorating 50 Year of Oromo Struggle lef by General Wago Gutu,” OPride, 2013, https://www.opride.com/2013/10/15/commemorating-50-years-of-oromo-struggle-led-by-waqo-gutu/