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A Chronology of Events in Ethiopia

May 27, 1991

Undated (AP) _ Here is a chronological look at events in Ethiopia since the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie.


Emperor Haile Selassie, who ruled Ethiopia for 44 years, is deposed by a clique of military officers known as the Dergue (Shadow). A provisional military goverment is established, headed by Lt. Gen. Aman Andom. Andom is deposed and shot, replaced by Brig. Gen. Teferi Benti. Ethiopia is declared a socialist state.


Selassie dies in government custody.


Ethiopia signs a military agreement with the Soviet Union.


Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam executes Gen. Benti and his associates and becomes head of state.


Cuban troops help drive Somalian forces out of the Ogaden desert region in eastern Ethiopia; armed conflicts intensify with insurgents in Tigre and in Eritrea, a former Italian colony annexed in 1962.


All political groups are consolidated into the Commission for Organizing the Party of the Working People of Ethiopia.


The goverment announces Operation Red Star to bring Eritrea into line politically, socially and economically.


The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front is attacked in a major government offensive outside its stronghold of Nakfa. A similar campaign is launched against the Tigre People’s Liberation Front.


The rains fail for the third consecutive crop season. Emergency food aid for up to 7 million people is received from Western relief agencies, but rebel activity and government policies impair distribution.


The government again launches a major offensive in Eritrea and Tigre. Some rainfall eases the drought, but famine continues to plague northern provinces. In 1984-85, 1 million people are estimated to die of starvation or related illness.


Severe drought in the northern regions of Eritrea, Tigre, Wollo and Northern Shoa. Eritrean rebels attack U.N. relief convoys, suspecting them of carrying military equipment for troops.


The government temporarily orders foreign relief workers to leave the northern provinces, then decides to allow them back in after rebel relief operations succeed in distributing food. Despite problems, relief operations in 1987-88 prevent disaster on 1984-85 scale.


Tigrean offensive drives military out of Tigre province. U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas, and 13 other people die in a plane crash while on a fact- finding tour. The government and Eritrean rebels agree to hold peace talks. The government prevents a coup by senior military officers; 28 plotters are executed or commit suicide.


Faced with yet another drought, Mengistu declares the failure of his Marxist economic system and vows a turn to capitalism. Jewish leaders claim Mengistu is denying 10,000 Jews permission to emigrate to Israel.


Peace talks between the Eritrean rebels and Ethiopia resume in Washington. The United States, Canada and European countries encourage some embassy personnel and dependents to leave the country. In March alone the rebels double the territory they have won in 16 years of fighting. Mengistu fires his vice-president and chief military strategist. The Ethiopian relief agency requests food aid for 7.3 million.

On May 21, Mengistu resigns and flees to Zimbabwe as Tigrean rebels advance on the capital. Vice president Tesfaye Gebre-Kidan, a former defense minister, becomes president.

On May 24-25, with rebels encircling the capital, Israel evacuated more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in a massive airlift dubbed Operation Solomon.

On Monday, U.S. assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Herman Cohen, mediating peace talks in London, says a cease-fire had been reached and rebels had been asked to enter the capital to restore order.

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