In Ethiopia, the long drawn-out war between government forces and Eritrean secessionists has inflicted heavy military losses on government forces in recent months.
GV AND SVs: Victory Square, Addis Ababa - old war veterans lined up at attention as military songs played (3 shots)
GV: Lieutenant-General Mengistu Haile-Mariam in motorcade
SV AND GV: Military chiefs salute as Chairman Mengistu walks by to wreath-laying ceremony (2 shots)
SV AND GV: Colonel Mengistu saluting (2 shots)
GV TILT DOWN: Victory Monument to Colonel Mengistu leaving ceremony (3 shots)
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Background: In Ethiopia, the long drawn-out war between government forces and Eritrean secessionists has inflicted heavy military losses on government forces in recent months. The country's armed forces are reported to have lost some two thousand men in battles since the beginning of 1980.
SYNOPSIS: On Sunday, April the sixth, old war veterans were among the many thousands of people who gathered in Addis Ababa to remember a much earlier war. It was the 39th anniversary of the Italian occupation of the country. Under the rule of Benito Mussolini, the Italians invaded and occupied Ethiopia, sending the government of Emperor Haile Selassie into exile between 1937 and 1941 British troops helped to restore the Emperor to power in 1941.
The Ethiopian Head of State, Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile- Mariam, was greeted by a vast crowd which included some of the country's forty ethnic and tribal groupings. The government is trying to unify them into a socialist society. The Soviet Union has given military aid to Ethiopia for over two years to help its fight against the Eritrean secessionists. The guerrillas are fighting for the independence of Eritrea and the Addis Ababa government insists the strategic Red Sea Province is an integral part of Ethiopia.
Colonel Mariam said last month (March) that Ethiopia's improved defences didn't represent a threat to anyone. He saw the strengthening as a sign of the country's determination to defend its territory and its hard-won revolution. Relations between Ethiopia and neighbouring Sudan have been strained because of Sudanese support for the Eritrean guerrillas. Increased fighting in the Eritrean conflict is said to have prompted Soviet efforts to negotiate and end to the 18-year-old conflict.