In Abyssinia, what was the Wal Wal Incident?



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Wal Wal (aka Walwal, Welwel, Ual Ual) is an oasis town in Ethiopia (aka Abyssinia) that was the site of the Wal Wal Incident in 1934. Italian troops, newly arrived from nearby Somalia, moved more than 50 miles inside Ethiopia to the oasis of Wal Wal, where they constructed a fort in violation of the Italo-Abysinnian Treaty of Friendship. There, they confronted a group of surveyors who had been mapping the borders of Ethiopia and British Somaliland. The British protested the presence of the Italian troops but withdrew to prevent possible bloodshed; the Ethiopians, however, sent troops to Wal Wal, where they faced off with the Italians for two weeks. A skirmish ensued which culminated in more than 150 dead. The Italians demanded financial remunerations and apologies, which were denied by Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. Selassie turned to the League of Nations, which reached a stalemate in negotiations. Meanwhile, Mussolini and Italy prepared for war, sending more troops to neighboring Eritrea and Italian Somaliland.

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