There have been reports of an abortive attempt to overthrow the ruling military government in Ethiopia.
There have been reports of an abortive attempt to overthrow the ruling military government in Ethiopia. Sources in the capital, Addis Ababa, say several members of the military council have been placed under arrest, following the plot to replace the junta with a civilian regime. According to some reports, the Ethiopian government believes the coup attempt had backing from the Soviet Union. The plot was uncovered as Addis Ababa celebrated military successes in the Eritrean campaign where air attacks have forced Eritrean liberation forces to abandon one of their major strongholds.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of Ethiopians had gathered in the centre of Addis Ababa for festivities aimed at inspiring public support for the campaign against guerrillas fighting for independence in Eritrea. The Government-sponsored festival also raised funds for the forces which are believed to be mobilising for a new offensive in Eritrea.
Revolutionary songs were sung and there were traditional dances. While Eritrean forces fight for control of the north-western town of Barent in captured Soviet or American built, Ethiopian tanks, Ethiopian troops paraded though Addis Ababa in armoured personnel carriers. They were the troops who first entered the town of Jijiga at the start of the counter-offensive for control of the Ogaden region in Ethiopia's now dormant struggle against Somalian forces. They were there to remind festival goers of military successes.
Animals and wildife were paraded and several displays testified to Soviet support for the ruling military regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, support which may have been cast into doubt by the reported coup attempt. The official press in Ethiopia has launched an attack on a Communist political movement known a Meison, claiming it is linked to a kremlin-inspired attempt to replace the military junta with a civilian administration. The Ethiopian Herald has reported that the entire executive committee of the powerful All-Ethiopian Trade Union has been replaced in a sweeping purge of Meison supporters. The newspaper accused the Union of allowing Meison members into its ranks and of political sabotage.