When South Korea came under communist invasion in 1950, Ethiopia was part of a UN multinational force that sided with South Korea and fought against the northern invaders. Almost 65 years later today, an affluent South Korea remembers the camaraderie, and pays tribute with a solemn gesture.
Forty young Ethiopian professionals some of whom are the children and grand children of the Ethiopian soldiers who took part in the 1950-53 war, have asked for a political asylum and their host country has handled their request without a hitch.
Nineteen others have decided to return to Ethiopia, though a few more from their ranks may have second thoughts and remain behind.
The Ethiopians wrapped up their eight-month-old training season before they decided not to return to their country on grounds of “gross human rights violations.”
Speaking on the phone, Sisay Woldegabriel, he himself the son of an Ethiopian soldier who took part in the Korean War, said his colleagues have committed themselves to struggle against the repression regime.
“It is suffice to mention how Ethiopian Moslems are being brutalized by police and government forces because they asked that their basic rights be respected,” Sisay told Ethiomedia with a tone of resentment and anger.
He said political repression in Ethiopia has hit rock bottom that the only solution is for all Ethiopians to join hands in the fight against the brutal regime in power.
“We have all decided to join pro-democracy Ethiopian groups around the world,” Thomas Ashame said, speaking on behalf of his compatriots at the Henan Refugee Camp.
Asked how life has been in the midst of the Korean people, both Ethiopians expressed enormous gratitude to the Korean people and government.
Ethiopia sent one infantry battalion to help South Korea repel invading communists from North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War and 122 of them were killed in action, according to a 2006 AP report.