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Abba Moti
1,668 m (5,472 ft)
 • Total7,166
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Bambasi (also known as Abba Moti) is a town in western Ethiopia. The town is named after the highest point in the Asosa Zone of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region, Mount Bambasi. Bambasi has a longitude and latitude of 9°45′N 34°44′E / 9.750°N 34.733°E / 9.750; 34.733 with an elevation of 1668 meters above sea level. It is the administrative center of Bambasi woreda.

Bambasi is located on the Gimbi-Asosa road, making the town one of the few in the Region accessible by motor vehicle with the rest of Ethiopia.[1]


In the later 19th century, Bambasi was seat of the Sheikhdom of Bambasi, which had been established following the conquest of Ismail bin Muhammad Ali, son of Wali Muhammad Ali. Although it was a notorious center of the slave trade, by the 1880s the Sheikhdom derived a significant share of its revenue from taxing the salt trade between the rest of Sudan and the nearby Oromos.[2]

A description of Bambasi in the Guido (published in 1938) describes it as consisting of three groups of houses at the base of Mount Bambasi, and supplied with abundant water and a market. The town was captured by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) on 7 January 1990, and six Cuban doctors and nurses were taken hostages after five days of heavy fighting.[3] In response government aircraft subjected Bambasi to aerial attacks; details on the casualties are not available.[4] The following month, the OLF clandestine radio reported that the group had killed 84 government soldiers in a clash between Bambasi and Mendi.[3]

On 2 April 2007, local Muslims in Bambasi raided the house of evangelist Tolosa Megersa, resulting in the death of six of his cattle and sheep. Five days later, the home of another local Christian leader, Lemmu Abdissa, was raided resulting in the destruction of all his property including 8,815 pounds of grain.[5]


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Bambasi has an estimated total population of 7,166 of whom 3,653 are men and 3,513 are women.[6]

According to the 1994 national census, its total population was 4,164 of whom 2,114 were men and 2,050 were women. The ethnic breakdown was 41.47% Oromo, 33.02 % Amhara, 17.31% Berta (or Jebelawi, including Fadashi), 5.38% Tigray and 2.81% others. Concerning religion, 48.08% were Muslims, 45.24% Orthodox Christians and 4.68 % Protestants.[7]

Many Amhara settlers from the former Wollo Province live in Bambasi.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Benishangul-Gumuz, Situation Report, 10/96" (accessed 1 May 2008)
  2. Wendy James, et al., Juan Maria Schuver's Travels in North East Africa, 1880-1883 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1996), pp. 27ff
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 21 December 2007)
  4. Africa Watch Report, Ethiopia: "Mengistu has Decided to Burn Us like Wood": Bombing of Civilians and Civilian Targets by the Air Force, 24 July 1990
  5. "Ethiopia: International Religious Freedom Report 2007" United States State Department website (accessed 22 May 2008)
  6. CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.3
  7. The 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Benishangul-Gumuz Region, Volume I: Statistical Report, p. 46, 53, 65

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