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Ethiopia Denounces Amnesty Accusations in Mosque Raid


Ethiopia has rejected a report from an international human rights group accusing its soldiers of killing 21 civilians in a raid against Islamist insurgents in Somalia last week.

Ethiopian government officials Thursday dismissed the accusations from Amnesty International as false.

The rights group said Wednesday that Ethiopian troops targeted civilians, including at least one cleric, in an attack on a mosque in the Somali capital of Mogadishu Saturday. Amnesty said the soldiers also captured dozens of children during the raid.

But Zemedkun Tekle, a spokesman for Ethiopia's Ministry of Information, denied that Ethiopian troops were involved in the killings. He told VOA earlier this week that the claims are "pure allegations."

Ethiopian forces are in Somalia to help bolster the country's interim government.

Ethiopian troops helped drive a militant Islamist movement from power in southern Somalia in 2006.

Fighting between the insurgents and pro-government forces has killed thousands of Somalis during the past 16 months. The conflict has intensified the country's already dire humanitarian crisis.