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The BBC's Andrew Harding
"Some two-hundred-thousand people are believed to have been killed during Mengistu's seventeen years in power"
 real 28k

Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 18:01 GMT
Mengistu to stay in Zimbabwe
Mengistu
Mengistu ruled for 17 years
Ethiopia's former leader Mengistu Haile Mariam has been granted permanent residence in Zimbabwe - his home since he fled Addis Ababa in 1991.

Mengistu faces charges of crimes against humanity in Ethiopia, where the government has been seeking his extradition.

Zimbabwe's Government has been criticised for failing to extradite him, even though the two countries have no extradition treaty.

But Mengistu is a close friend of President Robert Mugabe, holds a Zimbabwean diplomatic passport and lives in a heavily-guarded mansion in the capital, Harare.

The Zimbabwean Government say that they gave refuge to Mengistu because he helped train and arm them during Zimbabwe's liberation struggle in the 1970s.

Our correspondent in Harare says the move means it will now be virtually impossible for Addis Ababa to obtain the former leader's extradition.

He says it is believed Colonel Mengistu asked for permanent residence when he became worried that his friend, President Mugabe, might be forced from office.

Red Terror

Tens of thousands of opponents of Mengistu's military Marxist regime were murdered during the "Red Terror" campaign in 1977 and 1978.

Selassie
Emperor Haile Selassie: Mengistu helped overthrtow him in 1974
Ethiopia has argued that Mr Mengistu's crimes are so bad that the absence of a treaty with ZImbabwe is not a good enough reason to refuse extradition.

Mengistu helped overthrow Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

He took over as head of state in 1977 after a violent internal power struggle.

He then fled to Zimbabwe in 1991 just before rebels entered Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia asked South Africa for his extradition when it emerged that he had been receiving medical treatment there in 1999,

But South African presidential spokesman Parks Mankahlana said that Mr Mengistu had already left the country when the government received the extradition request.

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