Ethiopian Hero Extraordinaire General Jagama Kello dies at 96
April 8, 2017
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian hero extraordinaire Lt. Gen. Jagama Kello died on Friday at Tor Hailoch (Army) Hospital here in the capital.
Born in 1921 to an affluent family in southern Ethiopia, Jagama Kello set on his legendary career at age 15 when he raised a gun and began to fight against Italian fascism during the five-year resistance (1935-1941).
General Jagama joined his older brother and an uncle to fight Italian invaders, and he rose to prominence after his army grew to 3000. He spent the entire five-year period fighting the Italians, especially targeting those who were entrenched in Addis Ababa.
When Emperor Haile-Selassie returned home from his exiled life in London, he was quick to honor Jagama Kello for his unparalleled patriotism.
The soldier Jagama Kello took part in several armed conflicts, including the Ogaden War in the 1960s, and was wounded 17 times but survived them all.
When the emperor opened army colleges, Jagama was a cadet at Holeta Military Training College, and subsequently after graduation as a young lieutenant, he rose through the ranks of the army till he was decorated as Lt. General several years later.
Author Fikremarkos Desta, who wrote the biography of Gen. Jagama Kello, was overwhelmed with the heroic, death-defying feats of the national icon that his widely-read book was rightly titled: "የበጋው መብረቅ" (The Summer Lightning).
General Jagama Kello spent the last five years of his star-studded life confined to the bed, being taken care by his family, notably his youngest daughter.
The Ethiopian hero, who always was seen with the Ethiopian flag either around his neck or in his hand, is survived by five daughters and a son, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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