DARC Ethiophile Chronicles
On this day
On this day May 21, 1991 after fourteen years of brutality, military strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam, the Marxist president who ruled Ethiopia through war (Red Terror) and famine, flee to Zimbabwe for safe haven under the wings of comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Birds of a feather...
Under heavy pressure from advancing rebels Mengistu departed with skeptism and vowed to continue fighting. The departure of Mengistu, who was 49 at the time follows three months of dramatic rebel gains in the north and west. Mengistu took over Ethiopia three years after a group of army officers overthrew the Emperor Haile Sellassie 1st government and established a Marxist regime and ruled ruthlessly via the Red Terror.
The Derg, Common Derg or Dergue (meaning "committee" or "council") is the short name of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army that ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987. It took power following the ousting of Emperor Haile Sellassie 1st government. Soon after it was established, the committee was formally renamed the Provisional Military Administrative Council, but continued to be known popularly as "the Derg". In 1975, it embraced communism as an ideology; it remained in power until 1987. Between 1975 and 1987, the Derg executed and imprisoned hundred of thousands of its opponents without trial. In 1987 Mengistu Haile Mariam abolished the Derg, and established the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Red Terror, or Qey Shibir was a violent political campaign in Ethiopia and Eritrea that most visibly took place after Communist Mengistu Haile Mariam achieved control of the Derg, the military junta, on 3 February 1977. It is estimated that approximately 1,000,000 people were killed over the course of the Red Terror. After years of warfare by a coalition of ethnic-based parties, Mengistu was overthrown in 1991. In December 2006, Mengistu Haile Mariam was convicted in absentia for his role in the Red Terror while leader of Ethiopia.