The Amhara under emperors like Menelik II utilised modern weapons and European advisors against their opponents, who fought with spears. The result was devastation and death on an enormous scale. Between 1868 and 1900, half of all Oromo were killed, around 5 million people. The tactics employed were brutal. Following the defeat of the Oromo Arsi tribe of the Bale region, for example, Menelik’s general had the right hands of all strong men cut off and tied to their necks, and the breasts of the women sliced off and similarly worn.
Hundreds of thousands of settlers, known as naftanya, meaning gun carrier, were dispatched by the Amhara government into fortified settlements in the Oromo areas. The settlers seized vast tracts of Oromo lands, on which the Oromo were forced to labour. Oromo place names were changed to Amharic and local language and culture were banned. Under the famous emperor Haile Selassie, who took power in 1930, Oromo lands were given to multinational corporations, expelling and decimating local populations. The Oromo were known by the derogatory name Galla, or lowly "outsiders."
Awramba Times (Hetosa, Arsi) – The Aanolee memorial monument which was erected as a tribute to the Arsi Oromos who were victims of the Emperor Menelik’s imperial expansion, in the 19th century, colorfully inaugurated in the presence of high-level federal and regional officials last Sunday in Hetosa, Arsi, 150kms south east of Addis Ababa.
The monument, which was constructed with a cost of 20 million birr shows a severed hand stretched upward holding a women’s breast.
H.E ato Muktar Kedir, the newly appointed president of the Oromia regional state and chairman of OPDO on the occasion said that the erection of the memorial monument is to commemorate those Oromo heroes and heroines who were cruelly massacred for strongly resisting the then oppressive regime.
Ato Muktar added that the Aanolee historical monument is believed to be serving as Oromo cultural heritage hall that consists the Oromo Martyrs’ memorial monument, an ethnographic museum, a mural as well as research and study centers.
Mohammed Jilo, head of Oromia culture and tourism bureau, also said that the bureau is working with concerned stockholders to make the Aanolee monument a tourist attraction center. Hundreds of thousands from Arsi Zone and neighboring villages have attended the event.