In the Ogaden War in east Africa, Ethiopia claims to have killed 79 Somali regular troops and wounded more than 200 others in recent clashes.
MV Defence Squad drilling
GV Spectators applaud
MCU Woman, and male squad members, demonstrate bayonet practice
CU Speaker addresses defence squad as factory workers watch (3 shots)
CU TRACKING SHOT Squad members on parade, standing at ease
GV Defence Squad solider run to receive certificate
MV Woman squad members runs to collect certificate, salutes, and returns to ranks
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the Ogaden War in east Africa, Ethiopia claims to have killed 79 Somali regular troops and wounded more than 200 others in recent clashes. Somalia has consistently denied its own troops are involved. Ethiopian forces have been defending the strategic mountain city of Harar since late November. The city is the main immediate goal of the attacking guerrilla forces, who have made big gains since the conflict began four months ago. Ethiopia is continuing to call up further reserves of workers and peasants for the war against the Western Somalia Liberation Front.
SYNOPSIS: They look like soldiers -- but these members of a defence squad near the Ethiopian capital are basically just factory workers. They have just finished a three-month military training course and are considered ready for the front.
The 94-strong squad, twelve of them women, work at a fibre factory at Akaki, near Addis Ababa.
A crowd of local residents and other workers came to watch as the squad went through its paces to mark the graduation ceremony.
As guest speakers points out, the fighting is not far away now for these worker soldiers. About half of a previous squad of 200 from the same factory have been sent to the front, and are fighting alongside the regular troops and militia. Both squads were trained by the police force.
The new graduates were awarded certificates, handed out by the local district administrator. They collected them in typically brisk fashion. According to the Ethiopian News Agency, large batches of similar defence squads graduated in other parts of the country at the same time. As well as their military training, they also received political instruction on Ethiopia's Marxist revolution.