Somalia History: Ethiopia and Somalia

Somalia History: Ethiopia and Somalia Last updated on Sunday 25th April 2010

The "Somali Youth League", a social and political movement established in Mogadishu in 1942, quickly gained popularity and spread throughout the region. It called for the complete restoration of cultural and political freedom.

The government of Ethiopia, where the movement had considerable popular support, pronounced a ban on all political activity, particularly targeting the League. When Ethiopia took over the Haud and Reserved Areas, there were violent demonstrations throughout Somali territory. Consequently, thousands fled from the Ethiopian military, forcing Britain and Italy to accept them as refugees.

In July 1960, the British Protectorate and the Italian Trust were united, but no clear legal border had been accepted to separate the newly formed Somali Democratic Republic from the Ogaden in Ethiopia.

Reconciliation talks with Ethiopia were held in May, August and September of 1986, and the question of the Ogaden border dispute was still not solved. A sudden attack by Ethiopian forces in the middle of the peace talks, in February 1987, surprised everyone and brought the talks to a close.

With the loss of some 400 Ethiopian soldiers and 11 tanks captured, it was generally believed that Somali guerrillas had tricked the Ethiopians into attack to derail the peace accord.

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