Tedla Uqbit, BrigadierGeneral

An ardent Unionist who persistently worked and assisted the annexation of Eritrea. Trained under the British, Tedla Uqbit became one of the most  feared Eritrean personalities during the Federation years. In 1951 the British Administration sent him for study to England. In November 1954, alongside with two other police officers, dismissed by the Chief Executive on the grounds of redundancy. Tedla Uqbit resigned from his post rather than accept a transfer to a civilian position, giving his reason that his dismissal had been due to his strong support for Union.

His case was taken up by the palace, and with pressure from the Federal government, in May 1955 the Chief Executive forced to appoint Tedla Uqbit as deputy  Police Commissioner with the rank of Major. In September 1955 replaced the departing Police Commissioner of Eritrea, the Briton Colonel Wright, Tedla became the Police Commissioner of Eritrea. Later in his capacity as Commissioner of Police, Tedla was to be responsible, for the dismantling of the federation. During the 1956 Assembly elections he was at the forefront in harassing anti-Unionist candidates. Although free to harass, he remained accountable to the Eritrean Supreme Court, which was headed by Sir James Shearer.

Tedla Uqbit was known for his ruthless suppression of actual and anticipated dissension so that by the beginning of 1960 he had managed to muffle all signs of opposition in Eritrea. The departure of Sir James Shearer in 1959 gave him absolute power and a free hand to jail anyone with impunity. In June 1962, for his unwavering service to Ethiopia, Tedla was promoted from colonel to Brigadier-General by Emperor Haile Selassie and bestowed the title of "Commander of the order of the Honor of Ethiopia." During the abolition of the Federation he was the busiest man to make sure all Eritrean Assembly members available for the intended final vote to terminate the Federation. Surprisingly, nine months after the fall of the Federation he lost his life in confrontation with the regime he loyally served for years. When his power was considerably minimized by the Governor-General, Abiy Abebe, he began to resent Ethiopian rule and objected order.

Eventually, Tedla declared that he had restored the Federation and ordered all his subordinates including all police heads of each division in the territory, to stay in standby position until further order. In his futile attempt of restoring the federation back, he had contacted the UN Secretary General, Mr. U-Thant through the consulate of the United Kingdom in Asmara. Governor General Abiy Abebe ordered the arrest of Tedla and on June 11, 1963 his police headquarter was encircled by the Ethiopian army. Amid negotiation with Ethiopian army officers, it was pronounced that Tedla Uqbit had committed suicide. Although official reports claimed the same, his death is still mysterious. The same day Colonel Zer'emariam Azzazi, his deputy, was promoted to Police Commissioner of Eritrea.
(See Tekeste, pp. 102-
103, 117-118, 124-125, 136, ZemenJune 27, 1962, and "Examination Archive on the death of Brigadier General Tedla Uqbit," June 20, 1963

SOURCE https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/22365/ASC-075287668-3368-01.pdf?sequence=2