Abiye Abebe

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Lij Abiye Abebe
File:Abiye Abebe.jpg
Born 1918 [1]
Died 23 November 1974 (aged 55-56)
Addis Ababa
Spouse Princess Tsehai
Woizero Amarech Nasibu
Father Liqa Mequas Abebe Atnaf Seggad
Religion Orthodox Christianity

Lieutenant-General Lij Abiye Abebe, KBE,[2] (1918 – 23 November 1974) was an Ethiopian politician and son-in-law of Emperor Haile Selassie.


Son of Liqa Mequas Abebe Atnaf Seggad, Abye was born 1918 in Addis Ababa as a Lij.[3] He attended the Holeta Military Academy.[4] In the 1940s and 1950s he was Minister of Defence, and later served as Minister of Justice and Minister of the Interior.[5] He chaired the High National Security Commission during the Ethiopian Revolution until his arrest by the Derg 16 July 1974.[6] Lt. General Abiye was serving as Chief of the General Staff when he was arrested.

According to John Spencer, when Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold sought to resign his post in 1973, he suggested to the Emperor that he be replaced by General Abiye. Other sources indicate that Aklilu Habte-Wold's rival Prince Asrate Kassa was the person who put General Abiye forward as a fellow aristocrat. However Abiye consented to becoming Prime Minister only if his nomination, and those of his cabinet, were approved by the Ethiopian parliament, a condition Emperor Haile Selassie found unacceptable. As a result, Haile Selassie decided to appoint Endelkachew Makonnen Prime Minister instead.[7] Abiye was one of 60 former government officials executed the night of 22–23 November at Akaki Central Prison by the Derg.[8]

General Abiye was married three times. At Addis Ababa, on 26 April 1942, he married Princess Tsehai of Ethiopia who died in childbirth a year later. Subsequent to this marriage Lt. General Abiye Abebe wa accorded the dignities and protocol rank of the Emperor's son-in-law, even after he remarried. In 1946, married Woizero Amarech Nasibu, and then later to Woizero Tsige, his widow.


  • Brigadier-General (26/04/1942).
  • Governor General of Wollega (1942-1943).
  • Minister for War 1949-1955 (Acting 1943-1947).
  • Minister of Justice (1958-1961).
  • Minister of Interior (1961-1974).
  • Ambassador to France (1955-1958).
  • Viceroy of Eritrea (1959-1961).
  • President of the Senate (1964-1974).
  • Minister for Defence and Chief of Staff (28/02/1974-22/07/1974).


National honours

  • Grand Cross of the Order of Menelik II.
  • St George Medal of War.
  • Haile Selassie Gold Medal 1st class.
  • Patriot Medal & three torches (1944).
  • Refugee Medal (1944).
  • Jubilee Medal (1955).
  • Jubilee Medal (1966).

Foreign honours


  1. Royal Ark
  2. Royal Ark
  3. Royal Ark
  4. Shinn, David H. (2004). Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia (2 ed.). Scarecrow Press. pp. 3–. ISBN 9780810865662.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, second edition (London: James Currey, 2003), p. 205
  6. Andargachew Tiruneh, The Ethiopian revolution, 1974-1987 (Cambridge: University Press, 1993), p. 68
  7. Spencer, Ethiopia at Bay: A personal account of the Haile Selassie years (Algonac: Reference Publications, 1984), p. 337
  8. Marina and David Ottaway, Ethiopia: Empire in Revolution (New York: Africana, 1978), p. 61