News / Africa

Somali Government Denies Ethiopia Sent Troops into Somalia

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government is denying reports that Ethiopian troops have taken the town of Beledweyn from al-Shabab militants in the central Hiran region. A government spokesman says there is no Ethiopian military presence in Somalia.

Somali government spokesman Mohamed Nor Dabaashe issued a statement Tuesday refuting eyewitness reports that hundreds of Ethiopians soldiers carried out operations against al-Shabab militants around Beledweyne in recent days, and have entered the strategic town near the Ethiopian-Somali border.

Dabaashe called the information "false" and said there were no Ethiopian forces inside Somali territory. The spokesman said government troops are amassing in the town of Kalabeyr, another key junction that links much of Somalia to the Ethiopian border, preparing to attack al-Shabab forces in Hiran.

VOA sources in Beledweyne say a large number of Ethiopians crossed the border several times in armored trucks last week. The sources say the troops, along with some Somali government forces, took Beledweyne peacefully Monday after the militants withdrew.

If Addis Ababa has sent troops into Somalia, analysts say the timing suggests it may be aimed at achieving two objectives:  First, to draw al-Shabab's attention and resources away from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, where the al-Qaida-linked group has recently redoubled their effort to topple the Somali government. And second, to possibly pave the way for the start of the long-awaited offensive by pro-government forces to capture ground from al-Shabab in several regions of Somalia including Hiran, Galgadud, Gedo, Bakool, and Middle Shabelle.

A detailed plan of the offensive was reportedly discussed in late July in Addis Ababa at a meeting sponsored by the regional East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development bloc.

Al-Shabab is the most powerful armed group in Somalia, controlling most of the country's south and the capital. It is considered a terrorist group by several Western countries, including the United States.

Al-Shabab was once a part of the Islamic Courts Union, which briefly ruled Somalia in 2006. With U.S. support, Ethiopia militarily intervened late that year to oust the courts from power and to install the U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

Addis Ababa withdrew its military in 2009 after Islamist leader and now-President Sharif Sheik Ahmed joined the government, promising to bring an end to the Islamist insurgency. But allegations of gross human rights violations by troops during the Ethiopian occupation created deep resentment and anger in Somalia.

Many western analysts have since suggested that the occupation helped swell al-Shabab's ranks and gave the group's radical leaders the credibility they needed to attract the support of groups like al-Qaida.    

Meanwhile, an al-Shabab military spokesman in Mogadishu, Abdiaziz Abu Musaab, confirmed the group had carried out Monday's mortar attack on African Union peacekeepers guarding the presidential palace. The attack killed four Ugandan soldiers and wounded several others.

Hinting that al-Shabab may be receiving intelligence from inside the presidential palace, the al-Shabab commander claims the group fired the mortar deliberately and accurately at a Ugandan troop position.

The spokesman for the peacekeeping mission called the mortar strike a "lucky hit" for the insurgents.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs