Ethiopia said it has begun pulling its troops out of Somalia, where they have been stationed for two years to back the transitional government.

A spokesman, Bereket Simon, for Ethiopia's President Meles Zenawi said Friday that Ethiopia has begun implementing its withdrawal plan.  But he cautioned that the withdrawal will take at least several days.

Residents of Mogadishu said they have seen trucks loaded with Ethiopian soldiers, mattresses, and equipment driving out of the capital city.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb exploded in Mogadishu earlier Friday killing two soldiers and seven civilians.

Fighting over the past two years, involving Ethiopian-backed government forces and a variety of Islamist groups, has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced at least a million others.

Somalia has not had a stable administration in 18 years.

The country's U.N.-backed government controls only Mogadishu and the parliament seat of Baidoa.

Ethiopian troops entered the country two years ago to back that government.

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