Members of the Kagnew battalion, who had served as part of the United Nations forces in the Korean War in the early 1950s, have expressed their solidarity with the government and people of South Korea amid the growing disputes with its neighboring arch foe, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), following the latter’s recent launching of missiles that landed in the Sea of Japan.
Veterans of the Kagnew battalion, including their association’s president, Melesse Tessema (Col.), condemned North Korea for its warmongering signaled by the launching of a missile it had carried out on September 9.
At a press conference he called on Thursday at the Korean War Veterans Memorial Center, which is located in the Afincho Ber area, he condemned North Korea’s September 8 nuclear test saying that it was a direct threat to international security. “This nuclear test is a clear violation of multiple UN Security Council sanctions,” Melese told The Reporter. He said that the condemnation is of his own and does not represent the association’s stance. “South Korea is my second home which I never want to see being harmed or threatened by any country just the way I don’t want to see my homeland Ethiopia being harmed,” he said.
Melese, who recalled their brave commitment, said that when a country is threatened by another country people should not just sit and see it as a problem of another country. “The attacking against one country will also eventually affect other countries stability, peace and security,” he said.
He called on the UN Security Council to interfere and avert any possible nuclear attack by the DPRK.
Similarly, other member of the Kagnew battalion, Sahlemariam Woldemikael (Capt.), 86, Seifu Tessema (Lt.), 83 and Estfanos Woldemesqel (Col.), 84 also expressed their solidarity with South Korea. Three of them told The Reporterthat they fully shared the view, concern and solidarity disclosed by their association’s president.
It is to be recalled that North Korea conducted its fifth underground nuclear test on September 8, 2016, despite threats of more sanctions from the United States and the United Nations. The latest test, according to South Korean officials, produced a more powerful explosive yield than the North’s previous detonations, indicating that the country was making progress in its efforts to build a functional nuclear warhead.
The test confirmed the explosive power and other characteristics of a “nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on” its ballistic missiles, the North’s nuclear weapons institute said in a statement.
A statement from the South Korean military also said that an artificial tremor, registered as magnitude 5, had originated from Punggye-ri in northeastern North Korea, where the North has conducted its four previous underground nuclear tests.
Kagnew battalion had been one of the four divisions of the Imperial Bodyguard. The 1st Division, Imperial Bodyguard, had primary responsibility for security in the North of the country including Eritrea. Each Kagnew battalion was drawn completely from the officers and men of the 1st Division Imperial Body Guard or the Kebur Zabagna, sometimes also referred to as Ethiopia’s “Imperial” Guards. The troops selected for Korea were given intensive training in the mountains of Ethiopia for acclimatization. Even after the armistice, a token Ethiopian force remained in the country until 1965. Altogether, 3,158 Ethiopians served in Kagnew battalions during the war with great distinction, principally alongside the 7th Infantry Division,