Top-secret internal communication by DERG regarding the population of Welkait and Tsegede (Western Tigray, Ethiopia), 1984 (Version 1) [Archive].

Source and context: Zenodo

Summary: During the civil war in Ethiopia between the military “Derg” regime and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) the Dejena mountain range in Welkait became, around 1980, the main base for Tigray resistance against the Derg regime that was in power at the time.

In the Ethiopian federal state, after 1991, Welkait became part of Western Tigray zone, which is currently annexed by the Amhara region that claims ownership violating the constitutional demarcation.

A rare communication document between Derg’s military command and the Ministry of Defense, dating back to 1984 has been retrieved, where they lament that the population of Welkait and Tselemti supports the TPLF, because the people are Tigrinya speakers.

Even today the archive is closed and classified “top-secret” and photos of the document had to be taken furtively.

In addition, given the uniqueness of the document, displaying the name of the archive could lead to its’ unwanted destruction.

This typical document from the 1980s, prepared on carbon copy paper using a ge’ez font type writing machine, was shown to a well-informed Ethiopian analyst, who stated that “The terms and expressions used as well as the stamps, headers, etc. made me feel it is authentic.”

Derg regime on Welkait

A top-secret correspondence among DERG administrators in 1984 complaining that TPLF was freely moving in Welkait and Tsegede, because the people are Tigrinya speakers


Very urgent

Top secret

From: Transitional Military Government, North Western Command First command

To: Ministry of Defense, Addis Ababa

Date: 04/16/1984

The first sentence reads as follows:

“1.2. People

Because the TPLF has been freely roaming in Welkait and Tsegede weredas for the last five years and the people are Tigrinya speakers, the TPLF has found it easy to put them under pressure with its propaganda.”