Oduu Haaraya


Truth Barometer #4


By odaahora

Alfred Ilg served as the best adviser in all spheres, smuggled weapons, participated in the war with Menelik’s illiterate, arrogant killer troops called “fannos” who conducted genocides where ever their footholds. He was assigned to the ministry of all affairs, officially awarded “Councilor of state with Excellency and honored” with a title called “Bitweded” by Menelik II. Bitweded-an Amharic word literally means the beloved, and it is the highest title ever conferred on a foreigner for his three decades of loyal services, although his official contract to construct railroad was for three Years. It worth’s to know that for Menelik an engineer means the man who can all as considered Ilg as a “God.” Indeed, Menelik was right because Alfred Ilg was the only trusted Fernj (Whiteman) that lead a blind man; Menelik to its dream of Expansion and creation of one of the barbaric,predatory Abyssinian Empire we know today in the horn of Africa, as “ Quasi-Ethiopian State.” Without Alfred Ilg plausibly the fake “Ethiopia” we know today, where over Eighty Ethno-nationals are incarcerated since then, could have never existed.

If someone asks who is Alfred Ilg? The most probable answer that comes in the mind of the majority one could get is the “Rail-road-construction-the gate to civilization,” that was and still is what the propaganda of both beneficiaries, the Abyssinians, and the Swiss tell. But the fact on the ground speaks another language if someone has an  opportunity of reading and analyzing authentic written documents deep into the bone marrow available in german language.


In OSAs mid-year conference that was first held in Munich,Germany, under the Theme: “Historical and Contemporary Relations between  Europe and the Oromo” and What the position of Alfred Ilg suggests about the European Role in Building the Ethiopian State under Menelik was included in the preliminary schedule but not finalised to be explored by our Qabannee:Bonnie Holcomb. I had had an opportunity to study at list three authors and their books written in German language through library loans on the role of Alfred Ilg and Menelik of Abyssinia from the various perspective and hoped to gain more knowledge from our blessed expertise on the subject in the conference on 29th of March 2015 in Munich.


The Portuguese: the Eye opener of Europe


Portuguese was and still is credited for opening the Eyes of Europe that there is a land behind the seas and oceans beyond Europe’s geographical boundaries. Vasco da Gama who was born in Sines, Portugal and his voyages around Africa, and India, booties shipped back home he ends of 15th century reawakened Europe to compete for turfs around the world. Europe come to the position that we have long experiences of butchering each other since the era of Vikings’ within our geographical boundaries why could not we do it abroad? And they did it. Portuguese was considered as the real mother of over five centuries of Chattel slavery.


Although the direct influences, interests and supports of the Portuguese in Abyssinia proper go back to Christoph, the brother of Vasco da Gama of Portugal in the 1540s, about four centuries later, the Berlin conference is not an act of solo states, but Europe as a continent including the USA to scramble for rich African, and Asian resources that holds true to the present.


Five years before the scramble for Africa’s conference by European colonizers, whose seeds were sown, and catalyzed by the German leader Otto Bismarck in the year 1884/1885 held in Berlin, one of a swiss national named Alfred Ilg began to serve Sahile Mariam who was one of the three rival warlords of the region, in Abyssinia proper in the horn of Africa during this period. Abyssinia was considered as a shareholder “partner” for scrambling the horn of Africa. Among the three rivals of Abyssinian warlords raised in the region at this period, Sahle Mariam (later renamed to “Menelik II” was singularly left, while the other two Kasas of Gonder and Tigre were killed, as the only final candidate “partner” for European colonizers missions in the horn of Africa.


Sahle Mariam knew Euro panes advanced firearms production and military advisors, from his two rivals, Kasa of Gonder (Tewdros) and Kasa of Tigray (Yohanis IV).For instance, A Swiss citizen, named Gunner, Louis was the military advisor and Yohanis had waged war against Sahile Mariam, to clean the roads toward the south, to Oromia, the resource-richest part in the horn of Africa. Sahile Mariam surrender to Yohanis, IV without any confrontation and submitted and obliged to pay him an annual attribute of 500 slaves 50,000 Maria Theresa thaler , 500 Mules, 10,000 Horses 50,000 head of cattle and several thousand measures of grains large container (Gambos) of meat, butter,etc., all, stolen, looted, plundered from Oromo land. Yohanis also order free pass for his “armies” hordes to Yaaya Gulaalee “Debree Libanose” to the central Salaale region of Tuulama Oromo. Sahile Mariam must also show a humiliating act of submission and present himself naked to the waist and carry rock on his neck to beg him to pardon to pledge fealty and approach barefoot and with his face down. A typical, Abyssinian mannerism, deep-rooted, “Civilization” of Coptic-Orthodox-doctrine. Yohansi IV also ordered him to supply with “Armies” to fight against the Egyptians.


As the underdog, Sahile Marima’s main dream at this particular period was, in fact, to obtain enough modern firearms to fight against Yohanis IV. Thus, Sahile Marima’s gave a contract to the Swiss Company called Fuerrer and Eshen in Aden to seek for a good European “engineer” for his service, like Gunner Louis, Yohanes’s military adviser.


The Swiss national Alfred Ilg was found to be the perfect person for Menelik’s colonization and expansions projects for the coming three decades of his services and the creation of one of the barbaric predatory empire, the so-called “Ethiopia” of today. Fuerrer knew Alfred Ilg in Zurich who finally hired him, signed a contract for three years as an engineer to build Railroad from Finfinne to Somali coast with an annual salary of five thousand francs and organized his journey to Abyssinia. The rail–road project was designed by France Company as the sphere of political influence in the horn of Africa, the Red Sea, and its coast and especially Abyssinia. France dreamed of joining the colonial lands in Africa stretching from Djibouti, the most eastern coast of the African continent to Dakar-Senegal, West Africa, analog to Britain’s Cape Town to Cairo railroad dream.


It worth to note “engineer” in Menelik’s mind mean someone who can all so to say like a “God.” he was an alphabet and cannot read and write with his own langue late alone to develop an interest in technology or civilization he had never had it in his vocabulary. He desperately sought a middle man to have an access to modern European Firearms, corresponding trainers, and techniques, Advisor, Financiers, etc., urgently. Thus, the railway constructions contract made was simply an entry visa to achieve his dream of colonization of the south and settlement’s projects as it was happened.


Neutrality of Swiss: beyond duality

The law lexicon defines Neutrality as:

The state of a nation which takes no part between two or more other. nations at war with each other. Neutrality consists in the observance of a strict and honest impartiality, so as not to afford advantage in the war to either party; and particularly in so far restraining its trade to the accustomed course which is held in time of peace, as not to render assistance to one of the belligerents in escaping the effects of the other’s hostilities Even a loan of money to one of the belligerent parties is considered a violation of neutrality. A fraudulent neutrality is considered as no neutrality.


As folks adage says that everybody is the moon, and has his dark side which (S)he could not show to the others. We were told that during the scramble for Africa by European colonizers Switzerland has considered herself as a neutral state and told us how missionaries supported the emancipation movement of the decolonization in the African continent. In fact, she turned to be neither one nor the other as the legal definition of neutrality qualifies it.


Switzerland declaration of her neutrality in relation to her foreign policy of the Confederation was in 1815, to avoid a long lasted internal conflict within the region. Because of her Folks composition and geographical position in central Europe, where major wars were fought against each other to control the Alpine transit route in all compass directions. Otherwise, it was unthinkable to avoid the conflicts within Europe. That being said, how can one justifies the neutrality of the state that sales weapon like Vetterli-Swiss Riffles abroad to warlords in Africa and a number of her (Swiss) citizens to be a military advisors, firearm smugglers, boots of colonialists, over thousands of stolen cultural goods, historical artifacts, symbols like crone of king of Kaffa were transported to her capital cities museum as save heaven she consider herself neutral analog to other metropolitans of Europe. Furthermore, when her citizen participates in the war of colonization actively like Alfred in Abyssinia among others. That is fraudulent neutrality that goes beyond duality.


The awful truth of Alfred Ilg and his Services

Alfred Ilg was born in Frauenfeld on 30th of March 1854 near Bodensee, Switzerland. He was grown up in the “Hause zum Hirschen” and the rest is communal”, with his mother Maria Magdalena Ilg, two step-sisters and step-father, senior lieutenant Neuweiler. Ilg obviously did not know his biological father that led to a difficult childhood life, because he was considered as an illegitimate son, out of wedlock teased at his primary canton school (Gymnasium) by his classmates and age groups in his hometown, and he must compensate with his physical ability. There is no worse than to be called illegitimate for a son who was grown up in Conservative Protestant Swiss community at this particular period of time. To the worst, the death of his step-father further surprised him and left a widow and two step-sisters on the breadline. He worked hard to take care of the family and studied mechanical engineering in Polytechnic school in Zurich (current Federal Institute of Technology) from 1873-1878. Ilg speaks French, Italian language, a little English that played a major role in his future life and services.


Although Ilg had a good qualification, he did not see a stable future of work and life in Switzerland, because Europe, in general, was found in great economic crisesIt worth’s to note that at this period of time, Europe, in general, was found in great economic crises, after intra-European civil war of Austro-Prussian War, Franco-Prussian war, followed by long depression and economic crises Europe and America. The people of Europe were migrated to another continent via Seas and Oceans to seek a better live at this period of time. Alone from Switzerland whose total population was known to be exactly Two and half million, about 13 thousand people were migrated to different part of the world thus Alfred Ilg was not unexceptional, except that he knew nothing about Abyssinia and it was the journey to the unknown world of a Swiss national, to bring a light to Africa as it is often called by all colonial power “the European civilization mission”. How dear humane were they and still are the Europeans to bring a light to a dark continent, that Africa was desperately waiting for so long. Were not they, the mothers of chattel slavery and slaveholders for over five centuries?


It must be in fact called European Colonization mission, barbarism and genocides and extermination. Apropos, Civilization began where mankind began and that was Africa more precise in Oromo land, the cradle of human physically and mentally, and further following the courses of Laga Abbaayyaa, the blue Nile River, the root as in trees, where the major sources of its tributaries begins, like Jama, Mogor, Guder, Dhedhesaa rivers, etc., springs) that makes the great Nile River and the first great civilization along its way to Nuuba (Nubia) Marawaa (Meroe) ); the stem as in trees, and then to KMT- (Old Egypt) the flower as in trees of the African civilization. When Laga Abbaayyaa reaches KMT it was called Hapi in their language. KMT means the land of the black people, and Black is a color of the divine, and even the God, the creator symbolized with Black color: Waaqa Gurraacha .


Alfred Ilg and two Artesians began their journey on 28th of May1878 from Zurich to an unknown world to Abyssinia. First, he traveled from Zurich- Switzerland to Marseille-France with train and further to Aden-Yemen with Ship where he meets Fuerrer. They arrived at their final destination in eight months, on 1st of January 1879 at Akkoo Manooyyee or Halkobare deformed to “Ankober” by Amhara settlers where Sahile Mariam lived.The native Oromo residents of the place call it (H)alKoobari and to the hill Gooro beela that is about 2465 meters of elevation. It was a village-town with an estimated 10 to 15 thousand inhabits, living around the hill in irregularly distributed huts occupied by Amhara settlers colony surrounding by native Oromos who were turned to a house slave, field slaves, field workers, guards, and hand-workers of Sahile Mariyam.


Halkobar is one of the name of Tuulama branch (Gosa) and territory of indigenous Oromo population inhabited in the eastern ranges of Tuulama plateau, with other Oromo Gosas in the region, Liche, Laalo, Dobba, Giche, Basso, Werrena, Majate, Qewet, Senbete, Jille, Tumuga, virtually exterminated by Amha Yasus who conducted genocide act for three decades of aggrandizement policy, territorial expansion and resettlement of the Amharas in evicted territories. His son, Asfawa Wesin followed his father’s footsteps further south, east and west in larger scale further for twenty-three years of extermination policy, proceeded with his son Wason Seged, who occupied the central Tuulama high land of Galan, Aborii, Gulalee, Abichuu, e.t.c, the nucleus of Oromo land that turned to the springboard of Sahle Mariam’s colonial expansions and the genocidal act like his forebears in the horn of Africa.


The Amhara settlers in Halkober who claimed to be descendent of Nagasi Krestos, a refuge who run out of over centuries of chronical wars of rival warlords in Abyssinia proper to save their life, settled, and treated humane. given shelter, foods, a piece of turf for the farm, even women by the Oromos, the settlers gradually turned their back against them began extermination and renamed the region.


After short days of pause in “Ankober”, Ilg and his colleges were ordered by Sahlie Mariyam to go to Shagar /Finfinne, the heartland of the Oromos, to build his own hut in Xiixa “Intotto” and settle there. They were escorted to Intoto with six thousand Neftenya-(weapon carrier) men. These were the first settler colony in the heart of Oromia lead by Ilg to be followed by Sahile Mariams settler colony soon and give the new name in favor of his wife to Shagar/Finfinne. Once we know for sure the behavior and the mannerism of Abyssinians men, in relation to others flora and fauna most specifically women, and nothing has changed contemporarily until they hold the power, it will not be difficult to grab what type of atrocities, genocides and ethnocide were conducted by Settlers on the Oromo inhabits of the region. Furthermore, if six thousand Netanya’s were assigned to escort one Ferenj, Alfred, what did we expect how many Netanya’s will follow the future “Negus Menelik” who is going to settle on the Tuulama highland plateau and what type of damage they committed against Oromo people around and beyond to the present.


Alfred Ilg built his hut in Intoto. Not only the material for construction and the laborers were provided by the Oromos under occupation but also Ilg was the first landlord given by Menelik, About forty Oromo families was turned to serve him serfdom provided him all what he needs for life. He learned the Amharic language using the German version of his bible parallel to Coptic- Habesha version of the bible of Sabean script autodidactically while there was neither teachers nor grammar book in Habesha language was available. Thus, it is not surprising that Menelik, a pitch black skin with funny nose and pock-marked face cannot read write his own language.


The first phase of Alfred was to build a trust. So he worked out figures as gifts from Tusks of Elephants, Rocks, Ivory, Woods, etc., to Sahle Mariam and his wife Tayitu. He becomes regular visits and Invitations from his future Master. Alfred knew what is running in Sahle Mariam’s mind in relations of Fernj (Europeans) who served as missionaries, advisors, weapon dealers. He must convince both pairs that he is a unique, loyal Frenj and not the untrusted white Men they knew. The most skeptical one was Tayitu that said “Fernj iytamenim”, but “they knew. It worth to note that Sahile Mariam’s priority dream was to find the road to get modern firearms from Europeans and military advisors, the rests what was related to technology or civilization was unworthy and it was simple a spin-off his dreams. He was an alphabet who had never had in his vocabulary late alone to develop an interest in technology or civilization. Thus, the services of Alfred Ilg began with everything related to firearms, ammunitions provided from Europe to Sahile Mariam and stored in his weapon storehouses, their maintains, reparations, and acquisitions from Europe. He was also responsible for recruiting, training new militias, building of fabrics to produce gunpowder, training, establishing trade unions, designing and building the future residence “Menelik gibbi or Adaarash” paved streets, bridges etc., around it, Church where Sahile Mariam was crowned and given the name “Menelik II” Conquering Lion of Judah, Elect of God, King of Kings” given by Abuna Mathewos, the head of the Coptic orthodox church in 1889. The dates to be read varies, some wrote on 9th of March and others wrote on the 3 rd of November in 1889 in “Intooto Mariam ”. All the hard works were done with slave labors, predominately by the Oromos.


In the next part, deep exploration of the political, financial and the role of advocacy for Abyssinia Alfred Ilg as a person and using his country as a shield of protection and intervention played between the mainly the three major dominant European colonizers in the horn of Africa, Italy, France and England and Abyssinia as chess board. At last but note least the role of Alfred Ilg in all treaties most importantly the diabolic lies of Abyssinia to the very date. She alleged as the falsity of the interpretations of the model verbs “the can and the must” Waacaale “Wichale treaty” between Italy and Menelik in May 1889 and waged war seven years later. During his Three decades of services as a minister of all his 6-times travels to Europe, and what the deals was all about and how other European states responded to his behavior and brought Abyssinia to world political arena.





Abbas H. Ganamo Conquest and Resistance in the Ethiopian Empire, The case of Arsi Oromo  1880-1974, 2014.


Александр Ксаверьевич Булатович С войсками Менелика II: дневник похода из Эфіопіи к озеру Рудольфа 1900 (RU) ( With the Armies of Menelik II, emperor of Ethiopia and Entotto to the River Baro translated by Richard Seltzer). http://www.samizdat.com/armies.html


Amba Ras, Eine Reise durch Kaiserreich Äthiopien, Paul Hartlmaier 1953: (DEU)


Asafa Jalata Being in and Out of Africa: The Impact of Duality of Ethiopianism  (2009), www.jstor.org/stable/40282629.


Bonnie K. Holcomb, Sisai Ibssa Invention of Ethiopia: The Making of Dependent Colonial State in Northeast Africa,  Publisher, Red Sea Press, 1990.


Conrad Keller: Alfred Ilg, sein Leben und sein Wirken als schweizerischer Kulturbote in Abessinien, Huber, Frauenfeld, 1918


Dirribi Damuse Bokkuu  Ilaalcha Oromoo Baroo Amanta,Sirna Bulchiisa fi Seena Oromoo Finfinne, 2012.


Elisabeth Biasio: Prunk und Pracht am Hofe Menilek, Verlag NZZ Libro, Zürich, 2004


Mekuria Bulcha Contours of the Emergent & Ancient Oromo Nation: Dilemmas in the Ethiopian Politics of State and Nation-Building. Publisher: The Centre for Advance Studies of African Society (CASAS), 2011.


Mohammed Hassen The Oromo and the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia: 1300-1700, Publisher: James Currey, 2015.


Mohammed Hassen Conquest; Tyranny, and Ethnocide against the Oromo: A Historical Assessment of Human Rights Conditions in Ethiopia , ca. 1880S-2002 http://www.jstor.org/stable/41931279.


Neil Blandford &Bruce Jones, The world’s most evil men, Publisher: the Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1994.


Oromo Culture and Tourism Bureau (OCTB) History of The Oromo and Tourism Bureau, Finfinne, June 2006/1998.


Heribert Küng Staatsminister Alfred Ilg (1854-1916), ein Thurgauer am Hof Kaiser Menelik II. von Äthiopien, Thesis-Verl., Zürich, 1999


  1. A. Caulk Armies as Predators: Soldiers and Peasants in Ethiopia c. 1850-1935Author(s): Source: The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3, 1978, pp.457-493.


Rotimi Sankore Africa The 1884 scramble was for resources to develop Europe, NewAfrica  October No 444, 2005, pp.22


Willi Loepfe. Alfred Ilg und die äthiopische Eisenbahn, 1974


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