Veterans propose Kagnew-Korea Square in north Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian veterans of the Korean War wish to create “Kagnew-Korea Square” in the Gulele area north of Addis Ababa, to commemorate the sacrifices of Ethiopian soldiers during the 1950-53 war in Korea.
The city government has backed the plan by the Ethiopian Korean War Veterans Association (EKWVA) to establish the square, which includes a lawn and monument on a 144-sqm site in Gulele, near the grounds where the soldiers trained before fighting in Korea.
The city approved the plan days before the upcoming visit of South Korean president Park Geun-hye who will be in Addis Ababa from 25-28 May, before travelling to Uganda, Kenya and France.
The Ethiopian veterans, however, are having trouble raising the estimated $8,500 bill for the square and are appealing to South Korea to help finance the project.
Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie I sent the Kagnew Battalions to fight in the Korean War between June 1951 and April 1954, as part of the United Nations forces. A token Ethiopian force remained in South Korea until 1965.
A total of 3,158 Ethiopians served in Kagnew Battalions during the war, of which 121 were killed and 536 wounded.
Ethiopia was the only African country to dispatch ground troops to Korea, establishing diplomatic ties with South Korea in 1963.