Metu

Metu

Metu is a market town in southwestern Ethiopia. Located in the Illubabor Zone of the Oromia Region (or kilil) along the Sor River, this town has a latitude and longitude of and an altitude of 1605 meters. Metu was the capital of the former Illubabor Province from 1978 until the adoption of the 1995 constitution.

Metu has been an important market of the coffee trade, with several foreigners residing in the town as early as the 1930s to buy the crops from local farmers. At this early date, the town was connected by telephone to Gore and Addis Ababa. The town's source of electricity is a single generator; the Spectrum Guide to Ethiopia describes how it "chugs and puffs bravely for an hour or two before it is closed down and darkness and silence fall over the town.

Metu is known for its local waterfalls, the best known being the Sor Falls and their surrounding forest with its wildlife.

Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Metu has an estimated total population of 22,103 of whom 11,442 were males and 10,661 were females. The 1994 census reported this town had a total population of 19,298 of whom 9,686 were males and 9,612 were females. It is the largest settlement in Metu woreda.

History

On 9 July 1927, the Greek nationals T. Zewos and A. Donalis were awarded a contract to link the town and Gore by road with Gambela, a distance of 180 kilometers. In the 1930s, Metu was the last stop before reaching Gore. At the time it was a center for mule caravans and later also as a terminal for the Ethiopian Transport Motor Company.

The private weekly Urji reported 11 July 1995 that some 400 prisoners reportedly escaped when a grenade was set off at the Bisheri prison in Metu. The prison guards were killed immediately as well as at least six other people.

Notes

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