Ethiopia's military government has informed embassies in the capital, Addis Ababa, that it intends to show the world its readiness to defend its national unity and revolution.
Ethiopia's military government has informed embassies in the capital, Addis Ababa, that it intends to show the world its readiness to defend its national unity and revolution. Observers have taken this to be a reference to plans for a major push against different groups of anti-government forces in the country. He ??? of State Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam on Friday (17 June) told militiamen and members of the armed forces that Ethiopia was preparing for war. Only the day before, a huge crowd had attended a festival to raise funds for national defence.
SYNOPSIS: The festival was held in Addis Ababa's national stadium in response to Colonel Mengistu's "emergency call of the motherland". The call was issued in April following successes by anti-government forces in many parts of the country -- the north in particular. Following speeches explaining the purpose of the festival, the entertainment began.
There was drama in the form of a political morality play -- highlighting the feudalism of the former regime under the late Emperor Haile Selassie, who was in power until 1974. The play showed how heavy-handed treatment of underdogs resulted in revolution.
Then came the music and dancing, the highspot of a programme which included a football competition and acrobatics. It was organised by industrial workers from all over the capital.
Colonel Mengistu's declaration that the country was preparing for war was made to 300-thousand troops in a militia camp near the capital. According to the official Ethiopian news agency, he shouted "revolutionary motherland or death" as he inspected the troops. Colonel Mengistu has in the past accused Sudan of sending troops into Ethiopia in support of anti-government forces, and charged Somalia with arming insurgents in the north.
A song by a young revolutionary summed up the Marxist country's hopes of crushing its opponents. Ethiopia is fighting independence movements in the province of Eritrea and is also challenged in the south.