Note on Terminology

In this report Human Rights Watch uses the current administrative terms “Region 5” (known as kilil amist in Amharic), “Somali Regional State,” and “Somali Region” interchangeably to describe Ethiopia’s eastern Somali state. Where the term “Ogaden” or “Ogaden area” is used, it refers to either historical usage, or to the smaller geographic area within Somali Region which is largely although far from exclusively inhabited by ethnic Somali members of the Ogaadeen clan.

The Ogaden area roughly corresponds to five of Somali Region’s nine zones: Fiiq, Korahe, Dhagahbur, Gode, and Wardheer. The remaining zones—Shinile, Jijiga, Afder, and Liben—incorporate the colonial area known as the Haud, located north of the Ogaden along the border with Somaliland, and parts of former Eastern Hararghe and Bale.

In order to distinguish the clan from the geographic area, in this report the term “Ogaadeen” is used to describe the clan, a member of the Darood clan family, which contains numerous sub-clans represented across the Horn of Africa.

Place names present a challenge in Somali Region. For many years the Somali language had no written form and different spelling conventions were used by Italian and British colonial authorities. In 1972 the Somali Language Commission decided to use a Roman script for the written form of Somali, but included the letters “c” and “x” to represent the Somali sounds “‘ayn” and “h” respectively.

Contemporary sources and maps of Somali Region often mix three or more different spellings of geographic locations and ethnic Somali names. For example, alternative spellings of Dhagahbur include Degeh Bur, Dagahbur, Degehabur, and the Somali spelling, Dhagaxbuur. This report generally uses English spellings for locations unless the Somali version appears to be more commonly used in Somali Region and on relevant maps. In some cases where two variants are used by different sources, such as Aado/Caado or Yu’ub/Yucub, this report notes both spellings.