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Abraha Belay, Minister for Defense (Photo : file/PD)


There has been speculation that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration is determined to hand over Wolkait and Raya areas of Ethiopia to the TPLF following a new political alliance between the former’s government and the TPLF group.

Confirmation of it is emerging – and it is from a government authority. Dr. Abraham Belay, Minister for Defense, who also used to be a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), on Tuesday said the government will give what he called “Western and Southern Tigray” – a reference to Wolkait and Raya areas that are currently under Amhara region administration – “will be restored to Status quo ante.”

Historically, Wolkait and Raya were incorporated into the Tigray region after the TPLF took power in 1991. And there has been resistance to it throughout TPLF’s 27 years of rule for which thousands are said to have paid in life due to ruthless response from the TPLF.

Government structures currently in place in Wolkait and Raya are to be replaced by structures that are chosen by the people of Tigray, according to the Minister.

The Minister said so in his social media message ( It is available HERE)  he wrote on the occasion of “Ashenda” celebration.  He added that questions related to the territories will be addressed in accordance with the constitution.

He also said that the government will return displaced people from “West and South Tigray” to their places.

His message, which he wrote in Tigrigna language, mentioned that the place will be returned to the Tigray region in accordance with the Pretoria Agreement – an agreement that is said to have ended the two years war between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and TPLF in November 2022.

Formally,  the Pretoria Agreement is presented as the works of the African Union. However, there are rumors that the United States dictated the terms of the agreement in ways to rescue the TPLF and make it a relevant political actor in the country.

The United States State Department has issued several statements during the two years war project Wolkait areas as “Western Tigray and under illegal occupation of  Amhara region special forces.”

Dr. Abraham’s message has triggered a conversation on social media platforms. Many are arguing the Pretoria agreement did not make a reference to the Wolkait or Raya issues.


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