Omo Valley Tribes
The Mursi (or Mun as they refer to themselves) are a Surmic ethnic group in Ethiopia. They principally reside in the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region, close to the border with South Sudan. According to the 2007 national census, there are 11,500 Mursi, 848 of whom live in urban areas; of the total number, 92.25% live in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR).
Surrounded by mountains between the Omo River and its tributary the Mago, the home of the Mursi is one of the most isolated regions of the country. Their neighbors include the Aari, the Banna, the Mekan, the Karo, the Kwegu, the Nyangatom and the Suri. They are grouped together with the Me’en and Suri by the Ethiopian government under the name Surma.
Suri / Surma
Surma is a collective term for three ethnic groups — Chai, Timaga, and Suri Baale — living in southwestern Ethiopia. Suri is composed of three subgroups; Chai, Timaga and Baale groups (self-names), politically and territorially different, but all speaking ‘South East Surmic’ languages within the Surmic language family, which includes Mursi, Majang, and Me’en languages.
The Nyangatom also known as Donyiro and pejoratively as Bumé are Nilotic agro-pastoralists inhabiting the border of southwestern Ethiopia and southeastern South Sudan and in the Ilemi Triangle with populations residing in both countries. They speak the Nyangatom language.
The Nyangatom are members of the Ateker or Karamojong cluster that also contains the Turkana, Toposa, Karamojong, and Jie who speak closely related languages. They number approximately 30,000 with populations in both South Sudan and Ethiopia. Many Nyangatom are nomadic, residing in mobile livestock villages that may migrate several times a year. A substantial number of Nyangatom also reside in semi-permanent villages. It is common for individuals to move between mobile cattle camps and semi-permanent villages.
Karo (also Cherre, Kere, Kerre) is a South Omotic language spoken in the Debub (South) Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region in Ethiopia. Karo is described as being closely related to its neighbor, Hamer-Banna, with a lexical similarity of 81%, and is considered a dialect of Hamer by Blench (2006), but as a separate language belonging to the Hamer-Karo subfamily in Glottolog. The Karo people, who live close to the lower Omo River, use colorful bodywork, complex headdresses and body scars to express beauty and importance within the community. 2,400 speakers are using the Karo language.