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Dewele is located in Ethiopia
Location in Ethiopia
Coordinates: 11°2′N 42°37′E / 11.033°N 42.617°E / 11.033; 42.617
Country Flag of Ethiopia.svg Ethiopia
Region Somali
Zone Shinile
Elevation 898 m (2,946 ft)
Population (2005)
 • Total 3,357

Dewele (French Douanlé) is a town on the Ethiopia and Djibouti border. Located in the Shinile Zone in the Somali Region this town has a longitude and latitude of 11°2′N 42°37′E / 11.033°N 42.617°E / 11.033; 42.617 with an elevation of 898 meters above sea level. Nearby towns and villages include Dikhil (15.8 nm), Ali Sabieh (8.7 nm), Assamo (9.5 nm), Rahele (10.7 nm), Ferate (11.2 nm) and Meru (13.1 nm).

Dewele is served by a station on the Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway. It serves as an official crossing point between Djibouti and Ethiopia, with a customs post. In the mid-1960s, gypsum was excavated near the town, then transported to a factory in Dire Dawa to be used in the manufacture cement and plaster of Paris.[1]


Dewele was the first point inside the boundaries of Ethiopia to receive train service. The first train ran between Djibouti City and Dewele on 22 July 1901, requiring 5½ hours to make the trip with four halts for water.[2]

In 1907, the Englishmen Bentley and Wells drove a Siddeley automobile from the Red Sea coast to Addis Ababa. They feigned to go to Jaldessa but headed for Dewele instead, to mislead potential shifta or bandits.[1]

During the Djibouti Civil War, Ethiopians who were living in that country and worked in various sectors were forced by the Djibouti military to leave that country with whatever they could quickly gather. By February 2001, many had taken refuge in and around Dewele.[1]


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Dewele has an estimated total population of 3,357, of whom 1,710 were males and 1,647 were females.[3] The 1997 census reported Dewele had a total population of 2,253 of whom 1,130 were men and 1,123 women. The four largest ethnic groups reported in this town were the Somali (42.21%), the Oromo (27.43%), the Amhara (20.9%), and the Gurage (6.52%); all other ethnic groups made up 2.94% of the population.[4] It is one of four towns in Ayesha woreda.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 23 July 1009)
  2. ^ Richard Pankhurst, Economic History of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University, 1968), p. 315. For some reason Pankhurst calls this settlement "Douanle".
  3. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
  4. ^ 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, Vol. 1 Tables 2.4, 2.14 (accessed 10 January 2009). The results of the 1994 census in the Somali Region were not satisfactory, so the census was repeated in 1997.

Coordinates: 11°02′05″N 42°37′53″E / 11.03472°N 42.63139°E / 11.03472; 42.63139