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Humera in Tigray near the border with Sudan and Eritrea13.jpg
Flag of Humera
Humera is located in Tigray Region
Location within Ethiopia
Humera is located in Ethiopia
Humera (Ethiopia)
Coordinates: 14°17′10″N 36°36′35″E / 14.28611°N 36.60972°E / 14.28611; 36.60972Coordinates: 14°17′10″N 36°36′35″E / 14.28611°N 36.60972°E / 14.28611; 36.60972
ZoneMi'irabawi (Western)
WoredaKafta Humera
585 m (1,919 ft)
 • Total21,653
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Humera (Ge'ez: ሑመራ) is a city in Kafta Humera woreda in the Tigray Region (or kilil) of Ethiopia. It is located in the Mi'irabawi Zone (Western Zone) of the Tigray Region, with an elevation of 585 metres (1,919 ft) above sea level and the Tekezé river runs to the west. Humera is a very important regional agricultural center based on intensive agriculture. It is the last Ethiopian city south of the border with Eritrea and Sudan, and is considered to be a strategically important gateway to Sudan.


20th century

Prior to the Ethiopian revolution, large agricultural businesses were established to grow soybean and other crops for export. By 1971, there were 700,000 hectares being farmed.[1]

Humera is part of the Wolqayt-Tsegede area, which historically has been part of the former province of Semien also commonly known as Gondar. During the Ethiopian Civil War, Teranafit and its successor, the Ethiopian Democratic Union (EDU), drew much of their support from the commercial farmers of Humera and Wolqayit, and gained control of Humera in early 1977; Derg forces with tanks and armored cars retook Humera on 10 June, and the officers of the EDU fled to Sudan.[2] The Derg used Humera as a base for military campaigns against the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) until their Third Revolutionary Army was crushed in the Battle of Shire on 19 February 1989; this forced the government to withdraw its garrison at Humera a few days later, and by the end of the month evacuate Tigray entirely. The TPLF then took control of the area, and created a supply line out of reach of the Derg.[3]

On 26 March 1989, Humera was bombed from the air by the Ethiopian National Defence Forces.[4]

In the first few months after the beginning of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, most of the population fled south to the villages of Ba'eker (11,000), May Kedra (5,000), and Bereket (4,000). These refugees later returned to Humera.[5]

21st century

On 13 March 2008, a bomb exploded on a public bus in Humera, which killed eight persons and wounded at least 27 more. The government arrested the alleged perpetrators, who testified in court they had acted on behalf of dissident groups supported by Eritrea. Their trial was still in process at the end of the year.[6]

In November 2020, the town was heavily shelled, both by the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies, during the Tigray conflict.[7] The Humera massacre of ethnic Tigrayans took place. Responsibility for the massacre was attributed by refugees to Amharan militias, including Fano,[8][9] and to the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF).[10] Most inhabitants fled. Administration of the town was taken over by officials from Amhara Region.[7]

The massacres continued through 2021, with people being tortured, tied up and thrown in the Tekeze River. The Italian weekly magazine Panorama published a graphic video in which Amhara soldiers killed a group of 9 people in Humera in August 2021 and then put their bodies on fire. The video also shows torturing of one man by Amhara soldiers, then tying him up, preparing to throw him in the river.[11]

A Tigrayan, more dead than alive, lies on the ground with his head split and his neck bloodied. An Amhara soldier is tying his arms behind his back with yellow electric wire. The poor man knows what awaits him. Being an inhabitant of the Humera area, he is aware that that thread is the same that is used by Amhara soldiers to tie civilians before throwing them into the water.
— Elisabeth Burba, Le atrocità commesse dai soldati amhara in Tigray [Atrocities committed by Amhara soldiers in Tigray], reported by Panorama, 30 September 2021[11]


Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), this town has a total population of 21,653, of whom 11,395 are men and 10,258 women; this is an increase of 14,451 over the 1994 national census. With an area of 153.03 square kilometers, Humera has a population density of 141.50. A total of 49.84% households were counted in this woreda, resulting in an average of 6,360 persons to a household, and 3.40 housing units. The majority of the inhabitants said they practiced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, with 93.18% reporting that as their religion, while 6.45% of the population were Muslim.[12]

Ethnic demographics of Kafta Humera woreda[13]

Ethnicity Number Percentage
Agew/Awingi 242 0.5%
Amhara 3780 7.8%
Kunama 638 1.3%
Tigrayan 41999 86.3%
Eritreans 1439 3.0%
Others 592 1.2%
Total 48690

As part of ethnic cleansing during the Tigray War (2020-2021), numerous Tigrayans fled to Sudan and other parts of Tigray. Others were massacred in a series of killing sprees:


Humera is located in northwestern Ethiopia. By road it is 984 km (611 mi) northwest of Addis Ababa, 515 km (320 mi) west of Mek'ele, and 267 km (166 mi) east of Shire. The Tekezé river runs to the west of Humera. The city is spread on the east bank of the river. Humera is located at altitude ranges from 585 m above sea level.


Humera has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). The overall climate throughout the year is mild and dry. The annual rainfall ranges between 400 and 600 mm, with most of the rain falling in the rainy season (June up to September).

Climate data for Humera, Tigray, Ethiopia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 36.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 17.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0


The population increases dramatically during the farming season each year, when migrant workers arrive from all over the country. Sesame, sorghum, and Arabic gum are among the most common crops.


Humera Airport Western Tigray

Humera is served by Humera Airport (ICAO code HAHU, IATA HUE). Although it has not been operational due to an ongoing border dispute, on 26 July 2009 after three years of construction by the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise, the airport was officially reopened. A runway three kilometers long and 45 meters wide was constructed, capable of handling present-day aircraft including Antonov 124s.[14] The airport was opened at the cost of 182 million birr. Ethiopian Airlines serves the airport with destinations to Addis Ababa and Mek'ele. The opening of the airport was aimed at increasing the agricultural sector in the region as well as providing commercial air service in Humera.


  • Statue of anti-patriarchal feminist Mulu Gebreegziabher. It was destroyed by two Neftenya vandals, under the eyes of Ethiopian soldiers, in November 2020.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Tibebu, Teshale (1995). The Making of Modern Ethiopia: 1896-1974. Trenton, New Jersey: The Red Sea Press. p. 155. ISBN 1569020019.
  2. ^ "Hosaina - Hwate" (PDF). Local History in Ethiopia. The Nordic Africa Institute. 2005. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  3. ^ Gebru Tareke, The Ethiopian Revolution: War in the Horn of Africa (New Haven: Yale University, 2009), p. 284
  4. ^ Human Rights Watch, 24 July 1991: ETHIOPIA - "Mengistu has Decided to Burn Us like Wood" - Bombing of Civilians and Civilian Targets by the Air Force
  5. ^ EUE: Tigray Evacuees, 12/98
  6. ^ "2008 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia", Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US State Department (accessed 8 July 2009)
  7. ^ a b "Inside Humera, a town scarred by Ethiopia's war". Reuters. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  8. ^ Brown, Will (23 November 2020). "After the bombs they attacked with knives, claim Ethiopians fleeing peace prize winner's war". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 November 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  9. ^ Latif Dahir, Abdi (9 December 2020). "Fleeing Ethiopians Tell of Ethnic Massacres in Tigray War". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  10. ^ Akinwotu, Emmanuel (2 December 2020). "'I saw people dying on the road': Tigray's traumatised war refugees". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 December 2020. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b Panorama, 30 September 2021: Le atrocità commesse dai soldati amhara in Tigray
  12. ^ Census 2007 Tables: Tigray Region Archived 14 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5 and 3.4.
  13. ^ The 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Tigray Region. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Central Statistical Authority. 1995. p. 70.
  14. ^ "Ethiopia inaugurates international airport at Humera" Archived 31 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Ethiopian News Agency 26 July 2009 (accessed 1 November 2009)
  15. ^ @AArbegna (13 November 2020). "The statue that TPLF built of Qeshi Gebru (who was a TPLF fighter) in Humera has been completely destroyed with the…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.