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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid