Cattle Theft In Ethiopia

Years ago, while Ernie Tanner worked in the Omo Valley (Valley of Death) in Ethiopia, men of the Bodi Tribe crossed the Omo River and attacked the Kafa Tribe. They killed 450 people and stole approximately 3,000 cows, sheep and goats. They devastated one village after another.


A few days after the attack I visited these Kafa villages and saw the corpses of the victims lying on the ground. The ants had already done their work. I spoke with the few Kafa people who had escaped. They told us that the Bodi's cattle, the only nutrition for these nomad people, were wiped out by an epidemic. In order to cover the loss of their animals, the Bodi attacked their Kafa neighbors who, according to the Bodi, had settled in their territory. The Bodi warrior believes that the spirit of a dead man completes his own spirit, therefore making him stronger and live longer. To measure the strength of the spirit of his defeated enemy, the Bodi fighter will cut the heart out of the chest or the viscera out of the belly while the person is still alive just to see how long they will keep moving.


A little later, by order of the Governor of the Gemu Gofa Province, Ernie Tanner flew by helicopter to the Bodi Tribe to offer them medical, agricultural and veterinary help with the condition that they immediately stop the robbing and killing. Their leader accepted the offer. Shortly thereafter, a veterinarian was sent there with vaccine.


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