Ethiopian farmers in the Hararge region have found themselves in the centre of activity in the nearby Ogaden desert yet again.
GV PAN Farmers seated on ground, some holding rifles
CU Lt. Col. Getachew Shibeshi speaking in Amharic
SV PAN Farmers listening and chanting and applauding
CU Military Council representative addressing farmers in Orominga PAN TO other officials listening
CU PAN Farmers seated listening
SV & CU Officials in uniform listening ( 2 shots)
CU PAN Lt. Col. Shibeshi and the farmers chanting in unison to military representative's speech
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Background: Ethiopian farmers in the Hararge region have found themselves in the centre of activity in the nearby Ogaden desert yet again. Following the retreat of Somali backed forces because of a renewed Ethiopian offensive, the farmers are again under Ethiopian control. But they have been offered amnesty by military officials who urged them to return to their fields with a further promise of government protection from future attacks.
SYNOPSIS: With the re-emergence of Ethiopian military forces in their region many of the farmers have returned from the bush. They have been in hiding since Somali backed forces over-ran the area last year. in order to boost morale Colonel Shibeshi and other military officials offered amnesty.
The aim of the meetings was to urge the farmers to return to their crops -- which have been neglected since hostilities began -- and denounce President Siad Barre's Somali government. Assured of military support and essential farming equipment, many of them have enthusiastically announced their allegiance to Ethiopia.
A member of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (PMAC) assigned to the Hararge region also addressed the farmers. He reminded them that the land which had once produced plenty of maize now lay barren as a result of neglect. He urged them to start re-cultivating the area, and to revive the traditional farmers' associations which had been weakened.
The farmers were promised essential government aid once they had organised themselves into collectives. They also criticised the previous Ethiopian government describing it as a "feudal regime" and praised the present government for nationalising all rural land.