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Filtu is located in Ethiopia
Location within Ethiopia
Coordinates: 4°58′N 40°23′E / 4.967°N 40.383°E / 4.967; 40.383Coordinates: 4°58′N 40°23′E / 4.967°N 40.383°E / 4.967; 40.383
Country Ethiopia
Region Somali
Zone Liben
Woreda Filtu
Elevation 1,150 m (3,770 ft)
Population (2005)
 • Total 4,746
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Filtu (also known as El Daud) is a town in southern Ethiopia. Located in the Liben Zone of the Somali Region, it has a latitude and longitude of 4°58′N 40°23′E / 4.967°N 40.383°E / 4.967; 40.383 with an elevation of 1,150 meters above sea level. It is the administrative center of Filtu woreda. During the Italian occupation, a road 115 kilometers in length to Negele Boran was maintained but not paved.[1]


British forces advancing from Dolo freed the town from the Italians in March 1941.[1]

In October 1964, Filtu was the scene for one of the perennial conflicts between the Boran and Guji Oromo and their traditional rivals the Somali. The two Oromo clans attacked the Somali north of the Ganale Dorya, stealing or killing much of their livestock and forcing half of them to flee across the river, along with their fellow Muslims the Rayitu, to seek sanctuary around Filtu. The local authorities confined these refugees to a "protected hamlet" and ignored their pleas for help to return to their homes. As their plight worsened, the camp inhabitants started drifting south to Somalia for weapons and training. One group of 40 men, who left for Somalia three months after arriving at Filtu, led by Waqo Gutu, returned the next year to play an important role in the Bale revolt.[2]

During the Ogaden War, the Somali Army had penetrated into southern Sidamo as far as Filtu, which they captured by the end of July 1977, but did not push any deeper. The Ethiopian Fourth Division recaptured Filtu 8 March 1978.[3]

Due to disagreements between the local Somali and Oromo groups as well as within those ethnicities, no decision could be made about locating the administrative center for Liben Zone, as well as delaying the formation of a working zonal administration. Therefore, Filtu was appointed to function as interim administrative center for the Zone by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia during the 1990s.[4]

Ethnic disputes in the years up to (and including) 2002 led to refugees settling around Filtu. Over 800 households came to settle themselves in three camps around this town: two of the camps include people from the Bale Zone in Oromia, and one housed people claiming to come from Liben woreda in Borena Zone in Oromia. These refugees include 220 Degodia households who reported they came from an area south of the Negele Boran-Filtu road and north of the Dawa River, and 243 Wara Dubie and 289 Garre families who came from Dallo Mana, located on the Welmel River, about 100 kilometers north of Negele Boran.[5]

The Somali People's Democratic Party observed its eleventh anniversary of its founding in Filtu in July 2009, where numerous improvements to the infrastructure of the Liben Zone were announced.[6]


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia published in 2005, Filtu has an estimated total population of 4,746 of whom 3,496 are men and 8,242 women.[7] The 1997 census reported this town had a total population of 5,518 of whom 3,135 were men and 2,383 women. The largest ethnic group reported in this town was the Somali (98.26%).[8]


Filtu is a historical location of habitat for the endangered African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, whose local survival is in question due to the ongoing encroachment on habitat by the expanding human population.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 20 February 2009)
  2. ^ Gebru Tareke, Ethiopia: Power and Protest: Peasant Revolts in the Twentieth Century (Lawrenceville: Red Sea, 1996), p. 143
  3. ^ Gebru Tareke, "The Ethiopia-Somalia War of 1977 Revisited", International Journal of African Historical Studies, 2000 (33, #3), pp. 635ff at p. 645, 660. (accessed 13 May 2009)
  4. ^ Socio-economic conditions of the population in Liben zone, Ethiopian Somali National Regional State UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia report, February 1996 (accessed 21 February 2009)
  5. ^ "Internal Discussion Paper: Humanitarian aspects of Liben and Afder zones in Somali Region at the end of Jilal", UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia, 31 March 2002 (accessed 23 March 2009)
  6. ^ "11th founding anniversary of Somali People Democratic Party celebrated", Ethiopian News Agency 4 July 2009 (accessed 1 November 2009)
  7. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics Archived November 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Table B.4
  8. ^ 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, Vol. 1 Archived November 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Tables 2.4, 2.13 (accessed 10 January 2009). The results of the 1994 census in the Somali Region were not satisfactory, so the census was repeated in 1997.
  9. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Painted Hunting Dog: Lycaon pictus,, ed. N. Stromberg Archived December 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.