What was the Massacre of the Sixty (1974)?


The Massacre of the Sixty, or Black Saturday (Amharic: ጥቁሩ ቅዳሜ, tikuru kidami), was an execution that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia commissioned by the Derg government against 60 imprisoned former government officials at Kerchele Prison on the morning of 23 November 1974.

The prison was commonly called Alem Bekagn – “Farewell to the World”.

Ethiopian Revolution started about ten weeks before the massacre. Before this point, the Derg was able to instill hope among the people that the revolution could remain bloodless. Epitomised by the slogan “Ityopiya tikdem, yala mimin dem” – “Ethiopia first, without any bloodshed”.

The massacre presaged the Red Terror and Ethiopian Civil War that would follow in years after.

List of People Executed

The 54 below were executed on the orders of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Their names were read the following morning on Ethiopia Radio.


  • Prime Minister Tsehafi Taezaz Aklilu Habte-Wold.
  • Prime Minister Lilj Endalkachew Makonnen.
  • Lieutenant General General Abiye Abebe.
  • H.H. Prince (Leul Ras) Asrate Kassa.
  • Rear Admiral Leul Iskinder Desta.
  • Ras Mesfin Sileshi.
  • Ato Abebe Retta.
  • Ato Akalework Habte-Wold.
  • Lt. Colonel Tamirat Yigezu.
  • Dejazmatch Kifle Irgetu.
  • Lieutenant General Kebede Gebre.
  • Lieutenant General Issayas Gebre-Sellasie.
  • Lieutenant General Assefa Ayana.
  • Lieutenant General Debebe HaileMariam.
  • Lieutenant General Belete Abebe.
  • Lieutenant General Deresae Dubale.
  • Lieutenant General Haile Baikedagn.
  • Lieutenant General Assefa Demisse.
  • Lieutenant General Abebe Gemeda.
  • Lieutenant General Yilma Shibeshi.
  • Ato Mulatu Debebe.
  • Dr. Tesfaye Gebre Igzi.
  • Dejazmatch Workineh Wolde Amanuel.
  • Dejazmatch Aemero Selassie Abebe.
  • Dejazmatch Solomon Abreha.
  • Dejazmatch Sahelu Difeye.
  • Dejazmatch Worku Enko Selassie.
  • Dejazmatch Legese Bezu.
  • Colonel Solomon Kedir.
  • Blata Admasu Retta.
  • Ato Nebiye Leul Kifle.
  • Ato Solomon Gebre Mariam.
  • Ato Tegegn Yetashework.
  • Afe Nigus (Lord Chief Justice) Abeje Debalke.
  • Dejazmatch Kebede Aliwele Asfaw.
  • Major General Gashaw Kebede.
  • Major General Seyoum Gedle Giorgis.
  • Major General Tafesse Lemma.
  • Lij Hailu Desta.
  • Fitawrari Amde Abera.
  • Fitawrari Tadesse Enko Selassie.
  • Fitawrari Demisse Alamirew.
  • Kegnyazmatch Yilma Aboye.
  • Brigadier General Wondemu Abebe.
  • Brigadier General Girma Yohannes.
  • Brigadier General Mulugeta Wolde Yohannes.
  • Colonel Yigezu Yimene.
  • Colonel Alem Zewde Tessema.
  • Colonel Tassew Mojo.
  • Major Berhane Mecha.
  • Captain Mola Wakene.
  • Captain Wolde-Yohannes Zergaw.
  • Lieutenant Belai Tsegaye.

Killed in Shootout

The remaining six were killed in a shootout at the home of General Aman Andom.

  • Lieutenant Demisse Shiferaw.
  • Lance Corporal Bekele Wolde Giorgis.
  • Sub-Corporal Tekle Haile.
  • Lt. General Aman Mikael Andom.
  • Lance Corporal Tesfaye Tekle.
  • Junior Aircraftsman Yohannes Fetoui.

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