Kinfe Gebremedhin

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Kinfe Gebremedhin was an Ethiopian national who fought as a commander of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) against the military junta known as the Derg. Upon the overthrow of the Derg, Kinfe served as Chief of Security and Immigration in the new government and became a right-hand man of Meles Zenawi. He was murdered in 2001 by a fellow officer, which resulted in one of the most high-profile criminal cases in Ethiopian history.

Military career[edit]

In the 1980s, he served as a commander in the TPLF against the military government. He was a Durham University graduate[1] and appears to have studied there between 1994-95 as a member of Hatfield College[2]

Political career[edit]

Following the TPLF victory, a new government under Meles Zenawi took power in 1995. Kinfe was appointed Chief of Security and Immigration, and became the right-hand man of Meles Zenawi.


In May 2001, Kinfe walked into an Officer's club in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. He was killed when Major Tsehaye Woldeselassie shot him from the back as Kinfe passed him.[3] Tsehaye was quickly arrested. Major Tsehaye's motive was unknown, but it was speculated that it was due to a dispute between former members of the TPLF, with some dissatisfied over the outcome of the recent war with Eritrea.

Kinfe's funeral was held in the Addis Ababa, with thousands of people in attendance. Tsehaye was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death; he was executed on August 6, 2007.[4] The authorities refused to disclose the method used, but Ethiopian law states that all executions of military officers must be carried out by firing squad.[5]


  1. ^ "Army officer kills Ethiopia's security chief". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  2. ^ "Hatfield Association General Meeting 2007". Hatfield Association. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  3. ^ " - Ethiopia intelligence chief killed - May 12, 2001". Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  4. ^ "Ethiopia executes spy boss killer". BBC News. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  5. ^ "Woyanne executes Kinfe Gebremedhin's killer". Ethiopian Review. 6 August 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2018.