- Title: ETHIOPIA: CUBANS DECORATED FOR THEIR PART IN ERITREAN WAR.
- Date: 18th July 1979
- Summary: 1. GV PAN Cuban troops on parade 0.08 2. SV Cuban officers 0.13 3. SV Ethiopian Head of State Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile-Marian watches as Cuban officer leads cheers for Ethiopian leader (4 Shots) 0.27 4. SV Civilian officials watching ceremony 0.34 5. SV Lt-Col Mengistu pinning decoration on Cuban Soldier 0.45 6. SV Lt-Col Mengistu handing out medals to Cuban troops (3 Shots) 1.07 7. CU Medal Pull out to Cuban soldier wearing medal 1.12 8. GTV Massed ranks of troops receiving medals (2 Shots) 1.26 Saturday's offensive was launched on three fronts, and about 50 thousand troops. supported by heavy artillery and the air force took part in the assault. In the biggest attack, 30 thousand troops tried to drive inland from the Red Sea, but the EPLF guerrillas drove back two assaults. They still claim most of Eritrea's countryside. Initials CH/ Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 2nd August 1979 13:00
- Location: ALEMAYA HARARGHE, ETHIOPIA
- Country: Ethiopia
- Reuters ID: LVAAVKO75EA7G6Z2F49262K27AAH
- Story Text: Ethiopian Head of State Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile-Marian decorated Cuban troops for their part in the war against Eritrean secessionist guerrillas. It came only days after another new offensive.
SYNOPSIS: The Cubans fought alongside Ethiopians in last year's fierce battles against the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) who want independence from Ethiopia. ??? a former Italian colony -- was merged with Ethiopia in September 1952, and ten years later lost its federal status when it was annexed to Ethiopia as a province. Since 1974, Ethiopia has been ruled by a military regime and last year, the Ethiopian Government launched a major offensive to drive out the Eritreans.
Colonel Mengistu's offensive succeeded with the help of the Cubans and he thanked the troops saying " the proletarian internationalist heroes fought alongside the broad masses and the revolutionary army of Socialist Ethiopia to expel and humiliate the invading soldiers". Western estimates put the number of Cuban troops in Ethiopia at roughly 17-thousand, and their main role in the war was to pilot MIG-21 fighter-bomber making daily sweeps against the guerrilla forces.
Eritrea has a thousand kilometre (600 miles) coastline along the Red Sea and is of crucial importance to the balance of power in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea also houses over half of Ethiopia's industry. After a five-months stalemate in the 18-year-old war, the Ethiopian troops last Saturday (14 July) launched another major offensive against the EPLF.
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