Tippi (also called Tepi or Tipi) is a town of about 20,000 inhabitants
in the south west of Ethiopia. The name of the town is supposed to
have been given by a Majangir man who once had a bee hive in the large
tree that stood in the marketplace.
People report that there had been a small Italian military presence there during World War II. Tepi (especially the countryside around the city) has a history of ethnic mixing, which sometimes led to violent conflicts. The countryside around the city is the traditional land of Majangir, Shakacho, Sheko, Kafficho, and Oromo people ; while most of the residents of the city are from other parts of Ethiopia, adding even more ethnic groups to the mix. In the 1980s, because of famine, many people from other provinces were resettled nearby. There have been occasional armed conflicts in the area since 1991, between people from different ethnic groups in the area, which can be explained by a background of ethnic federalism, in which the lack of a majority ethnic group leads to conflict, sometimes armed ones. In March 2002 between 600 and 800 persons were killed during clashes between the Majangir, Sheko, and Bench Maji in and around the town of Tippi.
© Eric Lafforgue