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Ethiopia: Mengistu Hailemariam and PM Abiy Ahmed.

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 Mengistu Hailemariam and PM Abiy Ahmed.

 

Mengistu followed his father and joined the army, where he attracted the attention of the Eritrean-born general Aman Andom, who raised him to the rank of sergeant and assigned him duties as an errand boy in his office. Mengistu graduated from the Holetta Military Academy, one of the two important military academies of Ethiopia. General Aman then became his mentor, and when the General was assigned to the commander of the Third Division took Mengistu with him to Harar, and later was assigned as Ordnance officer in the 3rd division. A few years before his departure for training to the US he was in conflict with the then 3rd Division commander General Haile Baykedagn whose policy of strict discipline and order did not sit well with Mengistu. At the time, the Ordnance group was offered military technical training support in the US. Despite his disapproval of Mengistu's insubordination and disrespect, the General was obliged to release him and Mengistu went for a six-month training program in Maryland, United States. Returning after his training, he was expected to command the Ordnance Sub-division in Harar. Years later, Mengistu would murder General Haile Baykedagn along with the 60 ministers and generals.

While studying in the United States, Mengistu experienced racial discrimination, which led him to a later strong anti-American sentiment. He equated racial discrimination in the United States with the class discrimination in Ethiopia. When he took power, and attended the meeting of Derg members at the Fourth Division headquarters in Addis Ababa, Mengistu exclaimed with emotion:

 

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