Ethiopian forces fighting in the Ogaden desert claim they have recaptured their former headquarters in the region.
SV & CU: Shell damage Orthodox Church. Iron cross lying in debris. (3 SHOTS)
LV: Deserted street.
LV PAN & LV: Wrecked buildings. (3 SHOTS)
LV & SV PAN: Devastated exterior and interior of electricity generating station. (2 SHOTS)
LV & SV: Captured Somali tanks. (3 SHOTS)
CU & SV: Arabic sign and Ethiopian troops on captured tank. (2 SHOTS)
SV & CU: Captured artillery pieces and shells. (5 SHOTS)
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Background: Ethiopian forces fighting in the Ogaden desert claim they have recaptured their former headquarters in the region. A dispatch from the official Ethiopian news agency on Saturday (18 March) said that the town of Gode, and surrounding territory in the centre of the Ogaden, were back under Ethiopian control. Just over two weeks ago Ethiopian forces began a major new offensive, aimed at re-capturing lost ground. Their first major gain came with the recapture of the town of Jijiga. Visnews recently received this first film of the town after its recapture.
SYNOPSIS: The small town had been lost to Somali forces eight months ago.
This Orthodox Church was damaged when the Somali forces entered Jijiga. At the time the town served as the Ethiopian' tank and radar base for the region. It fell when Ethiopian troops broke and ran after a mutiny in their ranks.
After they captured the town, the Somali forces made it their defensive centre. It was crucial to their hold on captured Ethiopian territory in the Ogaden. The town is about 270 miles (440 kilometres) east of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and about 60 miles (100 kilometres) inside the internationally-recognised frontier.
Both sides realised the strategic importance of the small town, and these shattered buildings show the fierce fighting that took place when it was re-captured by Ethiopian troops.
During the fighting, Somali forces claimed tanks manned by Russians and Cuban soldiers were used in a major airborne assault. They claimed more than 70 Soviet-built tanks were deployed.
Near to Jijiga are these Somali tanks, captured in the fighting. These, and other military hardware, had mostly been supplied to the Somali forces by Arab and other Moslem states, according to the Ethiopians. The recapture of Jijiga gave the Ethiopians a significant psychological boost, and from here, on northern edge of the Ogaden, they moved on.
Observers say the battle of Jijiga was decisive in the eight-month war. Ethiopian now claims to control almost all of the lost territory. And Somalia now concedes that it has withdrawn its army form Ethiopian territory.