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.

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