Nilo-Saharan Language Groups
In the far southwest and along the country's western border
live several peoples speaking Nilo-Saharan languages. The
most numerous of these are the Nuer and Anuak, both members
of the East Sudanic family. Most Nuer are found in Sudan,
whereas the Anuak live almost entirely in Ethiopia. Most of
these people are hoe cultivators of grains, but many have
cattle. A few, such as the Nuer, are seminomadic.
The Kunema are found in western Tigray. Perhaps because of
the long Italian influence in Eritrea, they have been most
affected by foreign religious influences. Although Orthodox
Christianity had little or no impact on them, the Kunema
often accepted the teachings of Protestant and Roman
Catholic missionaries. Two other groups, the Berta and the
Nara, have been influenced by Islam. Otherwise, these
peoples have retained their traditional religious systems.
Koman speakers consist of several groups who live along the
Ethio-Sudan border in western Welega. Among these littleknown peoples are the Gumuz, who, along with the Berta, are
also called Bani Shangul. In the past, these peoples were
often the object of slave raids by their neighbors in
Ethiopia and Sudan.
Data as of 1991