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Some Somalis Demand Ethiopian Troops Withdrawal


Some Somalis are demanding Ethiopian troops leave the country and replaced by a United Nations peacekeeping force despite the UN secretary general's rejection of such a move. Ban Ki-Moon described deploying a UN peacekeeping operation to Somalia as unrealistic. He recently told the Security Council that strengthening the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through finance and logistical support is the realistic option to bringing a measure of stability to Somalia. But the Somalis contend that the presence of Ethiopian troops in the country is serving as a rallying cry for Islamic terrorists to continue killing innocent civilians. Abdulraman Mahmoud Tamele is a Somali political analyst. From the capital, Mogadishu, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Somalia will be in turmoil the day the Ethiopian troops leave.

"First of all, there is a strong opposition that is fighting the government. They once called themselves Islamic Courts, but nowadays they are fragmented and there is Al-Shabab. And all of them have a target and that is to declare themselves as nationalists who claim Somalis have the right to discuss and to reconcile among themselves for Ethiopian forces to leave. They claim it is a matter of motivation, but it is not a reality because if they wanted to have a reconciliation with the government, automatically they can discuss and they can agree with the government or something," Tamele pointed out.

He said the stability of Somalia would be compromised if the Ethiopian forces pull out of the country.

"There would be chaos if the Ethiopian troops leave. We will face new attacks and fighting and the country would be in turmoil," he said.

Tamele disagreed that the Islamists are using the presence of Ethiopian troops to recruit more terrorists to destabilize the country, arguing that the Islamic terrorists would take over the country when the Ethiopian troops withdraw.

"I do not agree with that because that is only one version. The Ethiopians are a very strong force and they are in Mogadishu and Baidoa and protecting and supporting the government and Al-Shabab cannot have the power to destroy the government and its various installations. But the day the Ethiopians leave the country, Al-Shabab will attack the presidential palace and they will capture everywhere because they are more organized than the other terrorists," Tamele noted.

He said AL-Shabab seems to be the only well organized terrorist group with affiliations with other international terrorist organizations.

"The only well-motivated Islamic radical group is Al-Shabab and they are very strong. So, once they (Al-Shabab) come to power they will not respect the others and they will slaughter people and dictate what they want done. So, I don't think AL-Shaba has the attitude of reconciliation with the others," he said.

Tamele said no existing military force would be spared once the terrorists take over Somalia.

"When the Ethiopians leave the country, Al- Shabab will take the power and they will destroy any other movement including the African Union forces. Uganda and Burundi will stay only at the airport and the seaport. And even I don't believe they will remain there, they will run because Al-Shabab will attack forcefully until they (Uganda and Burundi troops) leave. So, Al-Shabab is a very determined and radical organization and they have links to other international Islamic organizations and their motivation is to rule with very strict Sharia law in the country," Tamele pointed out.

Meanwhile, The UN Security Council last week called for enhanced monitoring of the arms embargo in Somalia, declaring that strict enforcement would improve security in the horn of Africa country where there has been no functioning central government since 1991. In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member council extended for another year the Monitoring Group overseeing the embargo that was first put in place 16 years ago, declared that the situation there constituted a threat to international peace and security in the region. The council demanded that all states, particularly those in the region, refrain from any violation and take all steps to hold violators accountable.


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