Ethiopia: 10 things to know about TPLF’s Debretsion Gebremichael

By The Africa Report
Posted on Tuesday, 1 March 2022 10:20, updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2022 10:48

In this image from video, Tigray's regional president Debretsion Gebremichael speaks during an interview in Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (AP Photo)/OTKNAIX101/21194547989183/Image made from video/2107140804

As head of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Debretsion Gebremichael threatened to topple Ethiopia’s government last year as his group’s fighters advanced towards Addis Ababa. In December he announced the TPLF would withdraw to Tigray to “give peace a chance”, but fighting continues in the neighbouring state of Afar. Here are 10 things to know about the head of the TPLF.

1. This is his second time as a rebel

In the 1970s, Debretsion abandoned his university studies to join the TPLF’s insurgency against the Derg, a Soviet-backed junta of Communist army officers.

2. Rebel radio

Spotting his technical talents, his commanders sent him to Italy with forged papers. He returned to Tigray to establish the Dimsti Woyane (“Voice of the Revolution”) radio station in around 1980. It broadcast propaganda messages and educational programmes.