Selamago is one of the 77 woredas in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region of Ethiopia. Part of the Debub Omo Zone, Selamago is bordered on the south by Kuraz, on the west and north by the Omo River which separates it from the Bench Maji and the Keficho Shekicho Zones and the Konta special woreda, on the northeast by the Gamo Gofa Zone, on the east by the Basketo special woreda and Bako Gazer, and on the southeast by the Usno River which separates it from Hamer Bena; the Mago River defines part of the boundary with Bako Gazer. The administrative center of Selamago is Hana.
The highest point in this woreda is Mount Smith (2560 meters); other notable peaks include Mount Dara. Rivers in this woreda include the Hana. The southern part of Selamago along the Mago and Usno rivers, a length of about 20 kilometers, is included in the Mago National Park. According to a 2004 report, Selamago had no all-weather roads and 185 kilometers of dry-weather roads, for an average road density of 44 kilometers per 1000 square kilometers.
David Turton describes this area as one of the most isolated in Ethiopia: the Omo and Mago rivers make access difficult and the conquering armies of Menelik II bypassed it. Although the occupying Italians briefly occupied a military post along the Omo in what later became Selamago in 1940, it was not until the 1970s that direct Ethiopian administration reached this area.
Based on figures published by the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, this woreda has an estimated total population of 19,329, of whom 9,825 are men and 9,504 are women; 718 or 3.71% of its population are urban dwellers, which is less than the Zone average of 8.5%. With an estimated area of 4,191.25 square kilometers, Selamago has an estimated population density of 4.6 people per square kilometer, which is less than the Zone average of 21.1.
In the 1994 national census Selamago had a population of 13,608, of whom 6,675 were men and 6,933 women; 397 or 2.92% of its population were urban dwellers. The five largest ethnic groups reported in this woreda were the Dime (39.23%), the Bodi otherwise known as the Me'en (33.07%), the Mursi (22.94%), the Amhara (2.2%), and the Basketo (1.26%); all other ethnic groups made up 1.3% of the population. Dime was spoken as a first language by 40.39% of the inhabitants, 33.07% spoke Me'en, and 22.94% spoke Mursi; the remaining 3.6% spoke all other primary languages reported. A 1996 UNDP report states that the "Bodi" and "Dimi" peoples were not counted in the 1984 census. One group who were missed were the Kwegu, whose villages can be found along the Omo River; they may have been counted as belonging to the Mursi. Concerning education, 5.77% of the population were considered literate. Concerning sanitary conditions, about 80% of the urban inhabitants and 9% of the total had toilet facilities.
- "Detailed statistics on roads", SNNPR Bureau of Finance and Economic Development website (accessed 15 September 2009)
- David Turton, "A problem of domination at the periphery: the Kwegu and the Mursi" in Donald L. Donham and Wendy James (editors) The Southern Marches of imperial Ethiopia (Oxford: James Curry: 2002), p. 148.
- CSA 2005 National Statistics, Tables B.3 and B.4
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 1, Tables 2.1, 2.7, 2.12, 2.15. (accessed 30 December 2008)
- "Field Trip Report to South Omo zone and Konso wereda (SNNPRS)", UNDP-EUE, May 1996 (accessed 19 February 2009)
- This description is based on an older version of the Ethnologue map of Southwestern Ethiopia; the most recent version shows the Kwegu as inhabiting an area near the confluence of the Usno with the Omo.
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 2, Table 3.7 (accessed 17 April 2009)
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 2, Table 6.11 (accessed 17 April 2009)