Amhara nationalist claims over Western Tigray are a smokescreen for ethnic cleansing

Western Tigray is the place of origin of most Internally Displaced People from Tigray. Map by Dr. Sofie Annys. Source: Tigray: Atlas of the Humanitarian Situation

A comprehensive analysis of historical maps and records by Professor Jan Nyssen, a geographer at the University of Ghent, undermines the arguments made by Amhara elites.

Since the military conquest and ethnic cleansing of Western Tigray in 2020—mainly by Amhara special forces and Fano militias with direct and tacit support by Eritrea and Ethiopian federal authorities, respectively—post hoc justifications have been offered to consolidate this unconstitutional takeover.

As many as 723,000 Tigrayans have been violently chased from their lands, while the number of civilians killed is undoubtedly high but could not be ascertained by human rights investigators because their access to the areas was blocked by the occupying forces.

To justify these expulsions and killings, the supposed eternal Amharic character of Welkait and the surrounding districts is commonly invoked.

An example of such arguments, Tibor Nagy, former US Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, wrote in a recent op-ed that, “When the TPLF came to power, they transferred a fertile section of Amhara State (Welkait district) to Tigray, renaming it Western Tigray, and brought in ethnic Tigrayans to displace ethnic Amharas. Thus, Amharan militias eagerly joined the fight and forcibly reclaimed Western Tigray.”

However, there was no Amhara state in the pre-federal eras and Ethiopia’s federal constitution stipulates that the ethno-linguistic demography of a region, rather than the historical control of a territory by a certain group, determines how the country’s internal borders are organized into regional states.

As a result, areas known as Welkait, Tsegede, Tselemti, and Humera were initially incorporated into the Tigray region during the 1991-1994 transitional period, because the residents of those areas were overwhelmingly Tigrinya speakers and ethnically Tigrayan.

However, many Amhara nationalists have claimed historical possession of these lands. Although this historical ownership argument is irrelevant to the current federal setup, Amhara irredentist claims should nonetheless be scrutinized more closely.

After all, Amhara irredentism has been a driving force in the Tigray war. Removing this most productive zone from Tigray that borders Sudan appears also to be part of a strategy to impoverish and subjugate Tigray, while encircling it with hostile forces.

This territorial dispute between Tigray and Amhara regions remains a sticking point that has impeded peace in Ethiopia for two years. The possession of “Western Tigray” or “Welkait” was not directly addressed in the peace agreement signed on 2 November.

While the negotiated settlement’s emphasis on abiding by the existing constitutional framework has raised fears among Amhara nationalists that “ancestral Amhara lands” will be transferred back to Tigray, the agreement is subject to interpretation on this matter.

Mapping Welkait

A wide array of historical maps and records jointly reveal that the territorial organization of northern Ethiopia has changed repeatedly and considerably over the last four centuries.

Our research team at the University of Ghent has retrieved all historical maps representing the Western part of the Tigray region, otherwise known as Welkait and its adjacent districts, from well-established repositories.

Only maps prepared in the same period as they depict were used. Each map was screened for representation of internal borders, indicating territorial control. Out of 109 maps, spanning the period from 1607 to 1967, 66 explicitly display territorial control.

Such historical maps provide a lot of information about toponyms, meaning regional names, and territorial boundaries. They were not only the work of visiting cartographers and scholars; these maps were the outcome of intensive local assistance and contacts with local partners who were experts in territorial organization and socio-political practices.

Starting from the late seventeenth century, internal boundaries are clearly shown, with 37 maps between 1683 and 1941 displaying a boundary that is located close to the current southwestern border of Tigray, or even south of the Simien mountains.

The Welkait district is explicitly included within a larger Tigray confederation during the 1707-1794, 1831-1886, and 1939-1941 periods, while it is briefly mapped as part of Amhara in 1891-1894 and part of Gondar from 1944-1990.

Gondar province was established by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1946, with an Amharic centre, while the wider borderlands were inhabited by other ethnic groups, namely Tigrayans, Gumuz, and Agaw. To this day, Gondar is the stronghold of Amhara nationalism.

During other periods, Welkait is shown as being independent or as part of a larger Mezaga, meaning ‘dark earth’, lowland region. The claimed age-old Amhara/Gondar-Tigray border is only mapped on the Tekeze River during short intervals, from 1844-1847 and 1891-1896, and then more lengthily between 1944 and 1990.

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However, after 1980 the Dejena mountain range in Welkait became the main base for Tigrayan resistance against the Derg regime that was in power at the time, and so parts of it were under their de facto control.

This meta-analysis of the historical maps shows that for the larger part of the last 340 years, the area today known as Western Tigray has been under Tigray’s jurisdiction. However, particularly during times of upheaval such as during the ongoing civil war, the territory has been briefly reorganized under Amhara polities or was autonomous.

As the historical maps demonstrate, the argument that Welkait was always a part of Gondar, or else Amhara region, is not based on evidence, apart from a territorial reorganization in the mid-twentieth century.

Ellero’s notes

Next, we analyzed the field notes from Welkait of Italian ethnographer Giovanni Ellero, and extracted a list of 574 place names as recorded by Ellero and his translators.

Ellero was in Welkait in 1939-1940, where he was district administrator as part of the Italian occupying administration. His wife, Pia Maria Pezzoli, typed and organized his field notes when Ellero was put in prison by the British in 1941 and was at the same time administrator in Eritrea under the supervision of the British officer S.F. Nadel.

In 1942, Ellero was transferred to South Africa as a prisoner of war, but he perished when the ship on which they travelled was sunk by the Japanese navy.

During his fieldwork in Ethiopia, Ellero visited all villages of Welkait. For every village, he noted, among many other details, the number of inhabitants, the origin of the first inhabitants of the village, and the genealogy of how the inhabitants were related to the founders of the village. Languages practiced, religion, cropping system, and sometimes tales, habits, and customs were also recorded.

In almost all villages studied, the inhabitants remembered that, many generations earlier, their forefathers had migrated from a specific place of origin in the Tigray highlands. The majority of people were reported to speak Tigrinya, with only a passing knowledge of Amharic.

However, the priests commonly preached in Amharic, as was common all over Ethiopia at the time. While those who were literate wrote in Amharic, Ellero specifically mentions the reason; all communication with the administration was in Amharic.

The etymology of almost all 574 recorded names of villages and hamlets in Welkait is of Tigrinya origin. Less than ten locations in 1939 held a name of Amharic origin.

To characterise the indomitable character of the Welkait people, Ellero mentioned a verse commonly used by the Welkait farmers: “My land is Tigray, my croplands Welkait. My cow is wild, my wife angry. Now, the two have joined forces.”

Settlement patterns

Having all this knowledge publicly available, we can only conclude that those who persistently claim the enduring Amharic character of Western Tigray wish to justify their claims on the territory, which involved ethnic cleansing in that region after 2020.

A modification of regional boundaries as a result of conquest warfare by Amhara elites is unacceptable. The establishment of regional boundaries should especially consider the pre-war settlement patterns, as indicated by census data and language maps.

Contemporary Tigray is a valid territory, whose legitimacy stems from modern federalism’s initiative to create regions without reference to concepts of the Ethiopian empire-state. When the boundaries of the Tigray region were established in the early 1990s, an assessment of demographics that led to self-rule was more important than historical maps.

While Amhara nationalists have made it necessary to enter into such debates over historical ownership, settlement patterns of each group are, in fact, the basis upon which the existing federal structure is built.

The 1984 census conducted by the Derg only mapped the ethno-linguistic settlement patterns of Gondar province as a whole, and not Welkait specifically, so is not particularly useful in this respect.

The 1994 census data collected by the EPRDF shows ethnic Tigrayans constituted 96.5 percent of the population in the disputed areas, while only 3 percent were Amharas. This changed to 92.3 and 6.5 percent in the 2007 census.

Remarkably, the consensus among twentieth century ethno-linguistic maps of the Ethiopian state also sustains the current extent of the Tigray region.

Historical evidence produced by anthropologist Frederick J. Simoons in 1960 and by a team of linguists led by M. Lionel Bender in 1976, among others, demonstrates that, despite the fact that there were mass resettlements of Tigrayans in sparsely populated areas of Western Tigray during the 1990s, Tigrayans constituted the vast majority in these areas long before the TPLF was even formed.

In other words, the Amhara nationalist narrative that Amharic speakers have maintained continuous ancestral ownership of Welkait over the centuries is not confirmed by a meta-analysis of the historical maps and ethnography.

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Main photo: Western Tigray, the place of origin of most Internally Displaced People from Tigray; Tigray: Atlas of the Humanitarian Situation.

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About the author

Jan Nyssen

Jan is a professor of physical geography at Ghent University in Belgium. He has carried out research in Ethiopia since 1994.


  • Please hands off Ethiopia. Try to narrate how the westerns (basically The USA) dismantled the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, Yemen) as well as Libya just to exploit the natural fuel. For centuries, you (the westerns) are working against Africa. Please leave Africa for Africans!

  • Attacking the professor instead of refuting the contents of his beautifully laid out facts will not get you anywhere. You cannot hide or argue against the facts presented by the professor using “we-have-our-own-history-books” argument. Facts are facts. One cannot create alternative facts in a different language.

  • One reader points to another language map, published in
    Doresse, J., 1956. Au pays de la Reine de Saba : L’Ethiopie antique et moderne. Albert Guillot.
    If you came across historical or language maps that are not yet in this database (, please let us know.

    On the other hand, this Derg document, in Amharic (, may be translated as follows:
    “Very urgent – Top secret
    From: Transitional Military Government, North Western Command First command
    To: Ministry of Defense, Addis Ababa
    Date: 04/16/1984
    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.”

  • The 1994 census classically grants Tigrayan ethnicity to all Tigrigna speakers. This overlooks the fact that the region has traditionally been bilingual.

  • This article is full of lies. There is no any tangible evidence about thus false narrative.
    Even the words which the author used are unprofessional and baiased like ethnic cleansing,Genocide and then like.
    there are Thousand of evidence to show those areas are historical land if Amhara.
    you do not any knowledge how the Ethiopian constitution was established and acted on Amhara.Amhara represntatives were not their during drafting and approval of the constitution.
    Even the federal arrangement was done with out the willing ness of Amhara.Only TPLF and OLf which ethno nationalist were acters to establish the Ethiopian constitution and the federal arrangement.
    Before you write such thing I personally advice you to be neutral and have a little background knowledge about TPLF and The arrangements what he did.
    You source from one of Italian’s writer is invalids while Those Fascist Italians were trying day and night how to divede Ethiopia.Most of the patriot was from Amhara Ethnic.That is why he wrote a false narrative about the Historical land of Amhara as if it was in Tigiay and the residences were tigians.This is absolutely false.

  • First of all, western and colonial academics do not have the mandate, the knowhow , the true and unbiased cultural knowledge of developing countries to write political history of these countries. What they do is to overtly and covertly promote their hidden agenda of distablizing certain regions which they consider are threats to their broder geopolitical views. This has been witnessed by several evidences in which so called western academics have expressed unsubstantiated allegations against Ethiopian government and fueling the conflicts in Northern Ethiopia. History is a witness of what Beligum did to great lakes region. The atrocities in Rwanda, the current conflicts in Congo and surrounding countries are the makings of Colonial Belgium. The seeda of conflicts in Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Erterea were planted by the British. We advice so called western academics to refrain from spreading their venomous propaganda in the guice of research. Stop telling us our history. We Ethiopians have the information resources and the capacity to write, rewrite, tell, re-tell our history.

  • The professor’s research findings unambiguously show that the Welkait region had always been a part and parcel of Tigray for centuries and millennia. The short periods during which these areas were included within Gonder province or Amhara region today had been for facilitating administrative services as the region is in closer proximity to Gonder city than to Mekelle; for example during 1940s until the time of the establishment of the ethnic based federal system in the country in the 1990s.

    The identity of the settlers has always been ethnic Tigrayans and even today as shown in the Professor’s investigative report the vast majority of the people identify themselves as ethnic Tigrayans. Because Welkaits speak Amharic, the national language, doesn’t change their identity. Similarly the many ethnic groups in the Amhara region today don’t identify themselves as Amharas but who they are.

    It is untenable for Amhara elites to claim these areas as theirs when they have no basis for argument and justification. Every existing evidence/fact on the ground, that is 98% of the names of the places are in Tigrigna and the vast majority of the people themselves identify as ethnic Tigrayans. These facts are supported by analysis of historical maps and ethnographic evidence documented hundreds of years ago, which the Amhara elites don’t want to listen/know about. They only wish to fulfil their desire to own these lands and other areas in the country without considering facts and the existing federal laws on which the peoples of the country accept and abide by.

    For 30 years they have spread hate narratives against the people of Tigray. When the opportunity arise for them to attack the people of Tigray they have committed ethnic cleansing and genocide of Tigrayans not only in Welkait/ West Tigray but all over the region. Today they have formed unholy alliance with the regime in Eritrea and together they have continued the genocide of Tigrayans as far as Adwa, Tigray central region.

    As per recent peace agreement reached the ENDFs and hence the regime in Ethiopia should give protection to people of Tigray but the atrocities of genocide and looting ancient Tigray antiquities have continued in the full knowledge of the regime. These gross violations of human rights are also being committed in the knowledge of the international community that has failed the people of the region. It is getting too late for the people of Tigray. Nearly a million people are believed to have perished due mainly to starvation and lack of medical services as well due to indiscriminate extrajudicial killings.




  • @kaleb, didn’t TPLF basically obliterate the “settlement patterns……consent of the people” argument by its brutal ethnic cleansing of Wolkait of its ethnic Amharas who didn’t subscribe to its views for the region? Also, enough with your Nazi analogy of so called “Amhara” elites. Plenty can be said of not just propaganda but actual violence that is happening as we speak and for the last 40 years against Amharas by ethno-nationalists all over Ethiopia. Like you said…..more productive to stick to the facts. Only way we can all learn from each other and end this stupid focus on feudal identity and maybe have a chance to join the 21st century socio-economic and political structure.

  • Did somebody of the previous commenters even look at the maps of Western Tigray, as they existed through history? Did anyone check the language maps, as endorsed by the very ethiopianist Encyclopaedia Aethiopica? Or did they check the meta-analysis? The maps are at hand! It would be appreciated if Ethiopia Insight filters out the Donald Trump-style “Fake News!” bullying. Please be serious.

  • During the rule of emperor Haile Sellassie all the fourteen administrative regions (provinces) were multi ethnic except for the province of Arsi. But within each province the districts (Awrajas and Weredas) tended to be populated by homogeneous ethnic groups. There was no Amhara, Somali etc region. The emperor created multi ethnic provinces with the objective of turning them all into Amharic speakers. During the emperor there was no Gonder province but city. The province was known as Begemdir, which means land of the Bege. I don’t know who that referred to. But during the Derg the name Begemdir was changed to Gonder and it became the name of both the province and the city. But there was no question that the province Begemdir/Gonder was multi ethnic. It was not wholly Amhara.

  • Les TPLF ne sont pas des saints et les Falachas et les musulmans …non il y a certainement quelque chose qui ne tourne pas rond. Et puis le référendum n’impose jamais une coexistence ou une encore une coexistence de force qui n’est pas une coexistence pacifique . Et donc pourquoi se limiter de XVII ème siècle qui ne donne pas une réelle carte ethnique géographique historique…et les frontières en général, ce sont les colonisateurs européens qui se mêlaient de tout et de rien pour servir leurs propres intérêts en pétrole gaz …et d’un autre côté si on fait rigoureusement une géographique une géopolitique alors il faut créer des États minuscules tout en sachant que les groupes se déplacent et donc des nouvelles géographies si auparavant,des siècles durant, des ethnies changent d’appartenance à un territoire spécifique je mets en exergue le Rif marocain est réclamé par Alger et les frontières Algero-marocains contestées ou encore qui peut dire les vraies frontières entre Corée du Nord et Corée du Sud les cultures sont déchirées de part et d’autres donc les petits État d’Amahar sont des séparatistes ou des Independentistes …et encore une fois il faut des politiques chevronnés pour pouvoir établir un vrai État souverain ou une fédération ou confédération des États mais si ce peuple a déjà des problèmes d’alimentation dûs aux différents des pseudos politiques et donc non one ne peut penser librement sans se rattacher soit à la famine et comment remédier soit à la corruption pour un enrechissement personnel dure dure Haïlé Selacié avait pû unir est-ce que la démographie de son époque était faible et que le colonel Mungustu était le premier à contester et qui avait fait naître ce débat qui semble stérile pour enrichir un débat politique il faut dépasser ce genre de clivage ;le choix est clair soit dans l’unité qui impose des exigences ou dans la formation des petits États confédérations ou des États independents qui une chimère et rien d’autres il faut une armée pour se défendre et des nationaux et des États externes des charognards

  • Well, the natural boundary between Begemidr/Gondar and Tigrie province is the Tekeze River.
    Starting from Axum , Lasta/Lalibela, Ankober/Shoals, Begemidr /Gondar and Addis Ababa/Shoa Governments or rulers Wolkait administration is all the time under Begemidr province.
    There is no historical fact proves that Wolkait was under the adminisration of Tigre province. Not a single day before 1991.
    The Native residents of Wolkait Tegedie always remain Amhara Ethnic from Begemidr/Gondar. The Tigress come to Humeral every winter season for labor and go back to Tigrie crossing the Tekeze River after the seasonal work is over.

  • During the rule of emperor Haile Sellassie all the fourteen administrative regions (provinces) were multi ethnic except for the province of Arsi. But within each province the districts (Awrajas and Weredas) tended to be populated by homogeneous ethnic groups. There was no Amhara, Somali etc region. The emperor created multi ethnic provinces with the objective of turning them all into Amharic speakers. During the emperor there was no Gonder province but city. The province was known as Begemdir, which means land of the Bege. I don’t know who that referred to. But during the Derg the name Begemdir was changed to Gonder and it became the name of both the province and the city. But there was no question that the province Begemdir/Gonder was multi ethnic. It was not wholly Amhara.

  • There was no access from Tigray to welkait until the bridge and road was constructed in late 6o. Most laborers ( Tigrians ) were coming through Eritrea during harvest season and go back to Tigray. What does this tells us ? Tigraians never governed welkait. I rest my case

  • Fist, the identity all ethnic groups in given geographic area of Ethiopia or any other country, for that matter is not static. It is flued issue and may change or delute every hundreds years so depending on the migration push and pull factors, draughts,,wars, etc. As I once mentioned few months ago , this dispute could be settled through transparent referendum with multiple choices – at least three- and it looks now the government has lately realized this by insisting on’ “unconstitutionally” means. Perhaps mediators pushed for such solution . The referendum should be either to join the Amahara Region, the Tigrai Region or ownright region as Wolkeit Tsege, where both groups can coexist and prosper along. And similar solution akso for Raya people. I had conversation once few years back with Raya gentleman, who had multi-ethnic and multifsith background and what he said has taken me aback. He said that two regions , namely the Tigrai and the Gonder region have been dragging down our feet and became burden on Raya community’s progress, wellbeing and prosperity. Surprisingly, he didnt mention either Wolo, Gojam or Showa. So people who are talking about these belongs to this or that are either simplistic or hypocrites. Why not ask directly those residing and living in the area and affected by these ethnic racist policies about their choices, concerns and priorities?

  • Even Tplf signed the peace agreement accepting its fate that “western tigray” is no more.
    So the activists can also accept that fact and move on.

    • As always your statement is misleading and derogatory. TPLF never signed such agreements all of Ethiopian knows that the Western Tigray never belongs to Amhara land groups.

  • To Mrs Jan Nyssen

    who were reside in Welkait before 1707? Is there a regional state before the Federalist/Ethnic based constitution approved in Ethiopa? Is there a name Western region before 1990s in Tigray regional state? Please do not hotchpotch here and there?

    • For Somalis people opressrd by a byssinia, we don’t care highlanders which takes where, they both colonizers we hope they never agree on anything land, polics, economy or even neighbors. Keep fighting untill you desyry one another.

  • It looks from the facts presented her, which can be collaborated by other resources, Welkait indeed belongs to Tigray historically, ethnographically and by Ethiopian constitution. The only way Amhara can have it is either by ethnic cleansing and then doing referendum, which they are doing. Or as Jared stated, changing the constitution, which in my view was the main reason for Amhara elites to raise against Tplf, as tplf palyes a determinant factor in its writing, which Amhara elites views it’s is biased against its interest and it’s view of Ethiopia. However as most of other ethnic groups, and specially Oromo, sees this constitution defends thier interest, Amhara elites can not successful change it. So western Tigray is a way of revenging against TPlf. Tplf miscalculation in entering into war with all its enemy at ones, could lead to its lost of Welkait, as saying goes ” to Victor is spoils”, as Germany lost historical Germany land of West Prussia to poland after their defeat in second world war. The only way Tigray could reclaim western Tigray paradoxically is, if Abiye and Oromo pp, stands against Amharas claim based on thier long-term interest of preserving the constitution and some Amhara elites concide it, for the preserving Ethiopia, as incorporating in Amhara will not settle the issue. Or perhaps Welkait could be governed as special area by federal forces allowing repatriation of tigrayns, this is just my suggestion.

    • Ask Bekele Geraba an Oromo politician, a firm supporter of the constitution, who also believed Wolkait and the surroundings are unequivocally Amhara land and he would help the Committee which was struggling to the restoration of the land from Tigre to Amhara. I rest my case.

  • The author Niysen
    Wrote the distorted narrative based on false fabricated Narrative
    Our Ethiopian historians researched the fact that Wolkayet was never been part of TIGRAY region but part of Gonder and that is fact and nothing will change that
    Fact 45 millions of Ethiopian Amhara would not allow that

  • What do you know about Ethiopia? Why don’t you talk much how the TPLF leader robbed the original land of Amhara farmers?
    You don’t want to do that.

    You are a useless commentator. You can cry with this thought. But the land you are talking about is the land of Amhara farmers, not the thief TPLF. you understand?

  • Dear writer/s of this article,
    I extend my greetings to you from Ethiopia!
    I’ve read your article from start to end. You’re trying to spoil the peace agreement signed between GOE & Tigray rebels, which contributed to the stoppage of deaths of people of same nationality. The rebels of Tigray has been in power in Ethiopia for nearly three decades; & now when the cup of Sin is full in the eyes of God, its time in power is over. We Ethiopians lived the life after ethnocentric rule came to power in Ethiopia’s politics driven by you & more western countries. Your current media campaign to divide the peoples of Amhara & Tigray is in vein as we are tied in blood & flesh with each other. The main issue of the current war has not been a border dispute between two groups of Ethiopian nationals; but an interest by the western countries, including the USA, some European countries & the Un itself to conquer Ethiopia by the ‘Divide & rule policy of colonialists’. You’re proxy approach against the interest of Ethiopian nationalism is defeated in the war front by the united Ethiopian forces with the hand of God helping us. Your current approach of historic narrative in favor of Tigray ethnocentrism is a failure as you’re not mandated or commissioned by the legal entity, the GOE & the people of Ethiopia. Therefore, I kindly urge you to stop propagating such false narratives to trade by the blood of innocent poor Ethiopian who are now being visited by God based on his promise on the written word. ‘Ethiopia shall raise her hands unto the lord’. Those who rebel against God will be crushed to dust. We, Ethiopians are tied by marriage with each other; & this includes even Eritrea, which was temporarily separated from Ethiopia by your sabotages. It is time for the unification of Africa; & Ethiopia will still stand as a symbol of liberty & prosperity. Hands of Ethiopia

    • But ethiopia sold its soldarity and soverieghnty by inviting eritrean evils to cleanse tigray people. Unfortunately , tigray remains intact by defending its society from those barbarians. Tigray people will win and own its own country and the genocide will be endorse infront of the wrld soon. Tigray have been never surrender to any barbaric goverments and invaders for centuries. The amhara puppets have been trying all they best gor centuries to endanger tigrians for centuries but their evil hope wouldn’t come forever.

  • One of raya alamata is like western tigery but in Africa if you have forces make everything Please help us to live i am from tigeray any tigerayan are time box of dark

  • @dereja,

    Why don’t you argue as a scholar rather than antagonize the reporting? You and your leaders have never taken accountability for the chaos and misery you brought to the people of Tigray.

    Trying to scare off the international community by referring them as a source of fake news and an enemy won’t work. The sole reason you hate TPLF from their origin to now is due to their ethnicity, not to say they are saints.

  • This article is TPLF’s propoganda…with fake historical evidence…There was no western Tigri region with wolkiet.

  • Hi Jan,
    Your work is pure propaganda! You know it. Read, if you can A.Tamiru’s work on Welkait. I know you can’t since its written in Amharic … but still you can consult the references listed in his research. Gonder’s University work on Wolkait is another source. Westeren Tigraye is Shire . To say otherwise is covering up the TPLF ‘s genocide against Amharas that was conducted for the last 40 years. Tigreans and Amhars always lived in harmony in Welkait before the TPLF was born.They will also continue to live together by recognising that the internal border between them was alwas Tekeze river.
    The two together with others should also work to change the current constitution.


    • you must be joking if you think tigray will change the constuatuion amhara is alone on this one. amhara not caring druing the tigray war the massacre tigrayan face has changed everything.

  • This is full of lies. Your argument has a lot of fallacies. It is overtly biassed. Should you know the truth, read Achameleh Tamru’s book.

  • Without any valid constitution you talk about unconstitutionality .Which constitution are you talking about ?may be American ?

    • Sileshi,
      Professor Jan Nyssen argument is based on historical evidence and the current constitution of Ethiopia. Ethiopia constitution is based on settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the people concerned. Please refer the following Article from the constitution.

      Article 46. States of the Federation —
      1. The Federal Democratic Republic shall comprise of States.
      2. States shall be delimited on the basis of the settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the people concerned.

      Article 48. State Border Changes —
      1. All State border disputes shall be settled by agreement of the concerned States. Where the concerned States fail to reach agreement, the House of the Federation shall decide such disputes on the basis of settlement patterns and the wishes of the peoples concerned.
      2. The House of Federation shall, within a period of two years, render a final decision on a dispute submitted to it pursuant to sub-Article 1 of this Article.


      • Excellent exposition! Thank you, Kaleb! By exposing the truth on the issue, you’re avoiding the blood shed of Ethiopians who are tied in blood & flesh. This also includes our Eritrean brothers & sisters who are the target for the propaganda of western neo-colonizers of Africa. Their efforts are in vain as Ethiopia has won the war front by the help of God & standing unified with the GOE. No More Western sabotages & false narratives. Live Ethiopia for Ethiopians & Africa for Africans. Ethiopia is proud of its brave people who stood symbol of liberty for Africa. Kaleb, you’re doing the same now. May God bless you.

      • “Ethiopia constitution is based on settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the people concerned.”

        You may believe this, and portray it as fact. However, fact is what you see on the ground. Fact is, for example, the Ethiopian people were not consulted with by TPLF (yes.) and its subservient OPDO/ANDM. As TPLF, their supporters, and broader base of brainwashed Tegaru have told us for decades, TPLF won the war against Dergue, with little contribution from ANDM and OPDO, and TPLF certainly had the guns. And used them.

        But you know all this. Even if possibly you weren’t around in those years. The mountain of lies upon lies coming out from your end is very very dangerous. Taking territory from Amharas and giving them to other regions without consulting the people, by force, through ethnic cleansing and so on, this is how you ended up in this situation.

        Professor Nyssen has been presented with plethora of documents and arguments that point out flaws in what he is presenting. Repeatedly. But by now, the good Professor should probably face legal consequences for inciting hate, violence, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

        As for you, do bother to actually understand the situation by going to in-depth analysis materials backed up by academic sources. I hope you are smart enough to understand that, just because you’re not getting answers or types of answers you want, it doesn’t validate your views. Look literally on the ground.

    • Dereje,
      Can you tell us your evidence that Western Tigray (which includes Welkayit) belongs to Amara regional State? Just because you said “fake” it doesn’t mean it is fake. Bring your evidence and argue accordingly.

      Remember that Gonder isn’t Amara, it is a province which inhabits different ethnic groups (Amara, Qimant, Tigrayans, Agew and other ethnic group). By the same token – Wollo isn’t Amara, it is a province which inhabits different ethnic groups (Amara, Agew, Oromo, Afar, Argobba, Tigrayans). Thus, you need to argue based on evidence not based on a myth or folktales.

      There are Amara elites who try to claim based “False analogy” which is – Welkait used to be part of Gonder, and Gonder is Amara, thus Welkait belongs to Amara regional state. It’s absurd to say the least, this means Afar used be part of Wollo and Wollo is Amara, thus Afar belongs to Amara. Does it make sense?

      Advice to Amara elites – First you have to dismantle the current constitution, and then you can incorporate Welkait as part of Gonder. If you can do that I will support you 100%.


      • Kaleb,
        Though the article made it clear what the historical facts are, again it was not relevant since the boundaries are delimited based on the criteria stated on the constitution, which the author and you noted. The problem with most of the Amhara elites is, they have already made their minds to hate TPLF, by extension the people of Tigray, since the fall of Derg. Because, they took the defeat of Derg as their own and felt humiliated and seek revenge since. They have created a false narration Wolkiet and then Raya to justify thier agenda of genocide. After 30 years, alas, they have got what they were waiting for!

        • Admassie Alemu,
          I agree with you. The law of propaganda by the Nazi Joseph Goebbels says — “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”. Amara elites are following similar pattern/strategy to promote their political interest. The sad part is their supporters don’t seem to mind to consume such false narrative.

          The problem lies associating Amharic speaking people as Amhara. Just because someone speaks Amharic it doesn’t mean he/she has Amara identity. I speak Amharic fluently but I am not Amara. Ethnic federalism is more than the language, as I said earlier it is on the basis of — “settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the people concerned”.
          If someone speaks French it doesn’t mean he/she has French identity. If someone speaks English it doesn’t mean he/she has British identity.


          • Kaleb,
            I agree. Add to Goebbles saying that because a lie is told by millions of people, it becomes true. This is how the thinking of the Amhara nationalists goes.

            Article 47 of the constitution states “Nations, Nationalities and Peoples within the States enumerated in sub-Article 1[the 9 Federal States] of this article have the right to establish, at any time, their own States.

            The article is saying even now, and any time, boundaries could be changed. Oromia zone or Wagchemera zone or Agew Awi zone witin the Amhara Regional State can establish thier own States like Sidama if they aspire and meet the constitutional procedure. Will the Amhara nationalists wage war against the zones because they were part of the Amhara Regional State?

            The constitution addresses the PEOPLE not the LAND. It is this why historical narrations, whether true or false, were irrelevant back 30 years ago at the time the constitution was endorsed.

            Therefore, there is NO historical LAND that belongs to any State. But there are PEOPLE who can choose and decide to which State they want be part.

    • It is a nonessential article !!! though , Ethiopia administration structure could be if necessary 100 or more, why everything mater for Ethiopia which is not necessarily used in another’s countries as everybody knows Tigrai is not an independent country that means Tigrai province live in the umbral of Ethiopia and it should respact and loyal to the Federal government ( acting like adefacto state like that of Somaliland , could not be achivaibke becouse Ethiopian dont allow their country to be broken . Let us be human

    • what makes it fake? what does baseless fiction mean? who is wider community? what does wider community mean? if you want to disprove it, please bring your evidence. The end of speaking without having even a single piece of evidence is fruitless or meaningless.

  • My people are died for lack of knowledge, the holy bible book says ,The Ethiopia administration districts or provinces couldn’t not be a battlefield which killed innocent human Ethiopian . People in the diaspora whom get the upper hand in Economy and politics are inciting people to die.

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