As the Ethiopian Army, now re-equipped and re-organised with Soviet and, fights on two fronts against somalia in the south east and against the Eritrean separatists in the north, the nation's militia are playing an increasingly important part in the war effort.
MV: peasant men, women and children carrying banners and chanting (3 shots)
MVs: children undergoing drill (2 shots)
MVs: Militia chanting (2 shots)
GV AND SV: tribesmen on horseback parade before crowds.
MV PAN: Militia march off.
GV PAN: captured arms in dump.
GV PAN: captured tanks.
MV PAN: captured arms and ammunition labelled as from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
MV PAN: field guns on view.
MV: ammunition boxes
GV: arms and ???
MV: barbed wire PULL BACK TO GV village
MV: captured Somali troops on display to press (3 shots)
GV PAN: front line area in Southeast.
MV: troops with huts
MV: troops with tank
MV PAN: troops in dugouts beside huts.
GV: child leading cattle ZOOM IN TO troops.
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Background: As the Ethiopian Army, now re-equipped and re-organised with Soviet and, fights on two fronts against somalia in the south east and against the Eritrean separatists in the north, the nation's militia are playing an increasingly important part in the war effort. Intensive training is going on throughout the country.
SYNOPSIS: Ethiopia's regular army is believed to number about 70,000. But their strength is boosted by civilian militia estimated at 100,000. That militia is largely drawn from the peasant farming population such as these people in the village of Billalo in the Arssi Region.
The militia is being trained with the aid of Cuban military advisers and even children as young as eight are being taught how to fight and kill.
It is believed that there are some 3,000 Cubans in the country, along with 1,500 Soviet advisers and 100 East Germans. The Soviet Union says its aid is purely for defence, and has accused the West of indirectly providing abundant supplies of arms to Somalia.
The Militia is used on both fronts but some of these tribesmen receive only two weeks' training and are allowed to fire only ??? practice rounds before entering battle. Some, especially those from mountainous central areas are reportedly prone to develop malaria and dysentery in the hot, low-lying areas of the Ogaden.
Frontline commanders claim their forces have made major gains against the Somalis in recent days. A party of journalists invited to Ethiopia by the government have been shown piles of captured : Somali arms. Most of the weaponry being used by both sides is of Soviet origin, but the Somalis have received money and arms from Iran and Saudi Arabia. Some of their material also reportedly came from Pakistan, France, Italy and Switzerland.
At Harar, the visiting journalists were shown 17 Somali prisoners. Most said they'd been captured five months ago. Ethiopia claims they were told they'd be mutilated and killed if captured. Wounded soldiers, they said, generally chose death rather than capture.
If Ethiopia succeeds on the Somali Front, the question remains whether Ethiopian forces will stop if and when they reach the border. Somali President Mohammed Said Barre claims the Soviet Union wants to take over part of Northern Somalia. The Soviet Union claims its aid is purely for defensive purposes to repulse what is calls "Somali aggression".