Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeNewsKaramara Victory over invading Somalia forces commemorated, PM Abiy convey a message

Karamara Victory over invading Somalia forces commemorated, PM Abiy convey a message

The 42nd anniversary of Karamara Victory over invading Somalian Army commemorated. Under the TPLF administration, it was reduced to insignificance.

Karamara Victory Celebration at Friendship Statue. Photo credit : FBC

March 5, 2020

Following the 1974 Ethiopian revolution, Ethiopia was weakened by an internal power struggle. The then Somalian President Siad Barre thought it was opportune time to go after his dream of creating “Greater Somalia.”

He planned to take the Somali speaking part of Ethiopia by force and merge it with the rest of Somalia under his leadership.

Initially, it seemed he could realize it. His mechanized army was able to occupy lands in Ethiopia beyond the Somali speaking parts of Ethiopia.

Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam, then leader of the transitional government of Ethiopia, embarked on a massive mobilization scheme to dislodge Somali troops from Ethiopia and reverse the invasion.

In a matter of three months, as many as 300,000 militiamen were conscripted and trained for a counter-offensive against invading Somalian forces.

About 16,000 Cubans (including advisers) fought alongside Ethiopia. As well, hundreds of Yemen troops fought on the side of Ethiopia. The Ethio-Cuba Friendship Statue is erected in commemoration of that.

Massive mechanized Somalian forces had to retreat from most of the areas they occupied well within Ethiopia – in fact, as far north as Awash.

In March 1978, the Somalian Forces suffered heavy defeat, and their air force was virtually destroyed.

The showdown, many Ethiopians who took part in the war as combatants say, was in Karamara. On March 5, 1978 ( 42 years ago), Ethiopian troops declared victory – chasing out all Somali troops from Ethiopian territory.

Today, thousands of Ethiopians, including a retired military general who took part in the war, commemorated the victory at Ethio-Cuba Friendship Statue near Tikur Anbessa Hospital.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has expressed his best wishes for the 42 anniversary of Karamara Victory. Just like several foreign powers which invaded Ethiopia, Somalia’s Siad Barre made a mistake when he thought that the time was right to invade Ethiopia, Abiy said in his message.

“He was able to control extensive areas in our country as he did not face major resistance. But Ethiopians proved themselves what they could do when they stand up,” said Abiy.

Valorous Ethiopians who did not even have adequate training, were able to reverse the invasion, he said. And he gave credit for Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s administration for mobilizing and leading resistance that was able to give invading Somalian force a blow.  

“Whenever we have ‘gaps’ internally, we invite a foreign enemy. When we get strong, we will be respected,” Abiy said in his message.

Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena



  1. There is aberration of history in the article on what really happened during Ziad Barre’s invasion during the years 1977-78. First, the territory they occupied did not extend all the way to Awash. They were stopped at the area surrounding Afdem(Aware to Afars). Even there they did not establish any government. What they were doing was lay siege and pillage where they were marching. Such wanton destructive behavior did not go down well with our Issa brothers and sisters. If they had made any presence felt was sending their marauding elements to conduct cattle raiding in areas close to Awash in the vicinity of Harbaa(Bordode). Our Afar brothers and sisters had showed Ziad’s vagabond army who the real boss was months before the gallant countrymen flushed them out from the country in 1978. We should all remember that it was Ziad who invaded the old country not our Somali brothers and sisters. Our Issa brothers thru their then leader Ugaas had told Ziad’s army to leave their territory months before the final flush out at Karamara. According to my longtime Issa brothers the reason their tribe turned back of Ziad Barre’s thugs was because of ethical difference. Those thugs were disrespecting everyone including Issa elders. When our Issa brothers opposed to the murdering of Ethiopian students and others who fled the blood bath of Mengistu unleashed, Ziad’s hooligans were hurling insults so vile they never heard of them before. One example was ‘You are opposing the execution because you like bending over for Mengistu and Haile before him. They have turned you into homosexuals.’ Such and other even worse insults had enraged our Issa brothers and sisters. That way they threw those rowdy soldiers out of their territory. So we should give credit where it is due. Our gallant Afar and Issa brothers had played a demoralizing role on Ziad’s army months before the final clean up at Karamara. Yes the militia had played a critical role in stopping the rampaging Ziad army at the gates of Harar and Dire Dawa but if the Issas and Afars did not do the preliminary job of the chasing away from the entire area along the old railway line and if these two had fully cooperated with and welcomed the enemy it would have been a different story. Also let’s not give credit to that bloodthirsty Mengistu. It was the field officers and commanders who came up with a brilliant final war plan who deserve the credit for dealing the telling and final blow to Ziad. Mengistu ended up sending many of those brilliant military strategists to the gallows at later dates. Mengistu was too dumb even to read a map. That is what Mengistu’s apologists have been doing. We hear them deifying like he was a nationalist. How does one become a nationalist when he is killing citizens in their hundreds of thousands? How does one can be worshiped as a nationalist when he imports the best of the best khamr from Europe just to celebrate the anniversary of his usurp of political power when millions were dying from starvation? How does one cut and run away like a rabbit when enemies are at the gate? How? How? How? Get outta here!!!! Nuff said!!!!

  2. Also, Mengistu was not a leader of a transitional government because there was no such a government. It was a government of thugs led by the never quenching bloodthirsty Mengistu. Is this the kind of government we call transitional and some of us are demanding now. By 1977 that demon and his Paris trained commie allies had killed and maimed more than half a million people. He had sent every member of his own Derg murderous outfit with the mildest dissent to the firing squad and piano wire experts. His strongest opposition was another poorly organized commie group who just didn’t stand their former classmates of his Paris trained deacons of Marx.

    I also wish if this young PM Abiy did not use the phrase ‘Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s administration’. It shows those long hours at work are catching up to him compromising his thinking gears upstairs. I prefer to see it as just a slip of the tongue as a result of talking too much. He should have given the due credit to those brilliant field commanders. I hope this is not a signal for a becoming of him in the coming months. I know politicians often times move their jaws to feed on raw emotions of citizens but I don’t think he had the proper counseling on this one.

  3. it’s easy to defeat large ethiopian troops against tiny somali armies. now we are training our troops and in sone where future ethiopia will split into ethnic autonomous countries. somali people are 1 people having same culture, no matter what bad thing you see today future we will enjoy prosperity, and ethiopia will be ancient abyssnia while somalia would form Greater Somalia. every country experienced war but ours is just “Bonus” lesson to an extent that we will never fight again!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here