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Four Ethiopian Soldiers Killed in Somalia


Witnesses in Somalia say at least four Ethiopian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb near Mogadishu.

The blast took place Saturday on a road west of the capital where troops were searching for explosive devices.

Several other soldiers were injured in the blast.

Ethiopia said Saturday that the withdrawal of its troops from Somalia will be completed "within days."

A foreign ministry statement said military commanders are handing over their responsibilities to African Union peacekeepers and Somali transitional government troops.

A ministry spokesman, Wahde Belay told VOA that sufficient precautions have been made to prevent a power vacuum in Somalia after Ethiopian troops are gone.

About 3,200 soldiers from Burundi and Uganda make up the AU mission in the country. Burundi's Defense Minister, General Germain Niyoyankana. said Sunday the two countries would consider withdrawing their forces unless more troops and supplies are sent to the country.

Islamist insurgents have taken control over many towns in recent weeks and moved to impose strict forms of sharia (Islamic) law.

Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia in late 2006 to help the government oust Islamists who had taken over Mogadishu and much of the country. The offensive was successful but sparked a bloody insurgency that has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced more than a million others.

Some information for this report was provided by AF and Reuters.

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