Wolkait Mass grave: TPLF killed and tortured nearly 59,000 people;  Researchers

Twelve mass graves are uncovered in the Wolkait region of Ethiopia but researchers see necessity for an even more extensive study of atrocities committed by TPLF in the region

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had killed and tortured about 59,000 Ethiopians between 1983 and 1990  said a research team from Gondar University. 

During that time, the TPLF was operating as a conventional armed group fighting the then Ethiopian government which was toppled in 1991.

The team had been carrying out, as reported by DW Amharic, the research for well over a year now. 

Wolkait, Tegede, and Telemet are areas where the TPLF carried out the massacre and/or torture of ethnic Amharas who were demanding rather a Gondar identity at the time. 

The massacre mostly took place in the locality of “Gehanem” ( it is an Amharic for Hell), where a mass grave was discovered. 

However, the team has confirmed, as reported by DW Amharic, that there are 12 other mass graves in other localities of Gehanem. 

The area is located between Tegede and Wolkait – and they are separated by the river. 

The finding from the research established that the years between 1983-and 1990 were times during which individuals with ethnic Amhara identity were killed, and thrown into the Tekeze River. 

Dr. Bamlaku Yideg, leader of the research team which has about 12 members, is cited as saying that the findings from the research revealed that people who used to live in the area used to be detained, tortured, and killed to be thrown into the water ( a reference to Tekezze river). 

The report indicates that residents were killed because they rejected imposed ethnic Tigray identity and instated claimed Gondar identity. 

Under the ethnic-based Federalism, the TPLF made the rest of Gondar part of the Amhara region. 

Dr. Bamlaku is of the view that extensive research is necessary as he seems to think that the magnitude of the massacre could be bigger than that. 

The TPLF still has a claim over Wolkait over which it lost absolute control after it triggered a war when it attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force in November 2020. 

The United States, which has been tacitly supporting the TPLF forces, had been demanding the Ethiopian government’s withdrawal from what it called the Tigray region – at times explicitly citing Wolkait. 

The TPLF advances its claim over it by demanding “restoration of status quo ante.”  Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government had been denying secret negotiations with the TPLF


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