Tigray govt demands independent investigation after major-general dies in detention

  • Major-General Gebremedhin Fekadu died the morning his wife and child visited him in detention.
  • He was a decorated soldier who commanded AU peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Somalia.
  • The Tigrayan transitional government vowed to avenge the loss of all their heroic martyrs.

Major-General Gebremedhin Fekadu - who went by the alias, Wedi Necho - died in detention in Addis Ababa last week.

He has been described as a "martyr" who paid "the ultimate price" at the hands of the Ethiopian government.

Fekadu was the head of communications in the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) before his imprisonment as part of the sweeping detention of almost all Tigrayan members of the ENDF.

In an emotional statement, the Tigrayan transitional government said the decorated soldier, who also served as the commander of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Somalia, wrote an indelible history.

They blamed the Ethiopian government for forcing Fekadu, "who committed no sin other than honourably serving his people and country, to languish in jail solely on account of his Tigrayan identity, ultimately killing him".

Fekadu was arrested on 11 November, along with 17 other military generals and low-ranking officers, for allegedly cutting communications to the Northern Command and enabling Tigrayan forces to attack it.

Along with four brigadier-generals, five colonels and five lieutenants, he was charged with treason.

Reports in East Africa say Fekadu was visited by his wife and child at the Federal Prisons Commission, Kaliti High Detention Centre, the morning he died.

The Tigray transitional government is now demanding an inquiry into the circumstances around Fekadu's death.

"The Government of Tigray demands an independent investigation to be conducted by an impartial international entity into the circumstances surrounding the martyrdom of the heroic freedom fighter," the government said.

"We will work towards addressing the multifaceted problems facing our people as well as avenging the loss of all of our heroic martyrs, including the sacrifice of our heroic fighter, Major-General Gebremedhin Fekadu."

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.  

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