The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I


About Ledj Iyasu’s arrest in Tigre

Ledj Iyasu, having fought at Dessie with our War Minister, Fitawrari Habta Giyorgis, and having been defeated, had escaped into the Aussa desert; when he had stayed there for about two years—wandering to and fro—he emerged from the desert and was rumoured to have gone to a place called Qebsya.

The governor of Tigre, Ras Seyum, had for a time tried to make peace with him (Ledj Iyasu). But as it was extremely difficult to say: 'Give up the notion of kingship and crown, and let someone else take them!', he abandoned reconciliation and made him leave his governorate. Thereupon he went away from Ras Seyum's domain and entered that of Ras Gugsa Araya. When We heard of this, We transmitted orders to Ras Gugsa that he should search for him and capture him. Ras Gugsa indicated as follows: ‘I wish to undertake the search, but as Ledj Iyasu had secret conversations with Ras Seyum, I am afraid the latter might come and snatch him away; therefore, let some men come to me as his guards.' We therefore sent to Tigre, for the arrest of Ledj Iyasu, Ledj (later Ras) Dasta Damtaw as internal (personal) guard, and Dejazmatch Getatchaw and Dejazmatch Hayla Sellasse, Fitawrari Waqe, Dejatch Wassane Terfe, and Dejatch Walda Sellasse, so that they should act, together with Ras Gugsa, as external guards.

We were at Dessie, having travelled there departing from Addis Ababa on the Thursday after Easter, 27th Miyazya 1913 (= 5th May 1921), in order to listen on all sides. The governor of Gojjam, Ras Haylu, was summoned and we met as he entered Dessie in battle order. When Ras Gugsa informed Us of the arrest of Ledj Iyasu after a successful search, We ordered him to come to Dessie at once with the captive, and he brought him along and handed him over.

Ras Seyum was also summoned, and We took away from him the governorship of Adwa as a punishment for sending off Ledj Iyasu without arresting him and gave the governorship to Dejazmatch Gabra Sellasse. To Ras Gugsa We gave an additional governorship, on top of his previous one, for capturing and bringing in Ledj Iyasu. We made a number of adjustments in promotions and demotions and gave leave to Ras Haylu to return to Gojjam. We went back to Addis Ababa and got there on 12th Hamle (= 19 July 1921). We despatched Ledj Iyasu to Sallale, to Fitche, and arranged that he should reside there guarded by Our faithful Ras Kassa.

As Ledj Iyasu had remained at liberty for about four years since his deposition in 1909 (= 1916), some idlers had not ceased causing trouble. But following Ledj Iyasu’s arrest there had been great benefit to the country in the progressive spread of peace and security.

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Emperor Haile Sellassie First Theocracy Reign
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September 24, 2016