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Ethiopia withdraws from Somalia el-Ali in Hiran region

(BBC) — Ethiopian troops fighting militant Islamist group al-Shabab have withdrawn from a key military base in central Somalia’s Hiran region, residents say.

Ethiopia deployed its troops to Somalia to strengthen the weak UN-backed government
Ethiopia deployed its troops to Somalia to strengthen the weak UN-backed government

Al-Shabab fighters have taken control of el-Ali village following the withdrawal, the residents added.

Ethiopian forces had destroyed the base before abandoning the area, a radio station run by al-Shabab said.

The troops withdrew after the base came under artillery fire, a Somali security official said.

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Ethiopian has not commented on the withdrawal.

In recent weeks it had also withdrawn its forces from the nearby town of Moqokori, AFP news agency reports.

In June, al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, said it had killed 60 Ethiopian soldiers in an attack on a base in Halgan town, also in central Somalia.

The withdrawal from el-Ali has made a large and strategic area vulnerable to occupation by the militants, reports the BBC’s Ibrahim Aden from the capital, Mogadishu.
Some Ethiopian soldiers are in Somalia as part of a 22,000-strong African Union (AU) force while others are there as a result of a bilateral deal with the weak Somali government.

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Al-Shabab militants say they attacked an African Union base in central Somalia
Al-Shabab militants say they attacked an African Union base in central Somalia

The Ethiopian soldiers in the AU mission are responsible for securing Bay, Bakool, and Gedo regions but are also present in Hiran, which borders Ethiopia.

Somali security official Abdirisak Moalim Ahmed confirmed to AFP news agency that al-Shabab had occupied el-Ali, and the Ethiopian troops had headed for the regional capital, Beledweyne, about 70km (43 miles) away.

Most traders had fled the village following its seizure by al-Shabab, resident Osman Adan told AFP.

Ethiopia has a long and porous border with Somalia, and has been anxious to stop the infiltration of Islamist militancy into its territory.

Earlier this week, a state of emergency was declared in Ethiopia itself to quell the worst unrest in the country since the government took power in 1991.

Opposition groups in Ethiopia are demanding more political and economic rights, accusing the government of being repressive.

The government has blamed the unrest on “terrorists”, accusing them of trying to break up the East African state of more than 86 million people.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently visiting Ethiopia, where she called on the government to allow protests, Reuters news agency reports.

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3 Comments

  1. Two reasons why Tplf would “pull” out of Somalia.
    1/ to play on the fears of the US; and US not to put pressure on its killings;
    2/ to free soldiers to stop rising dissent within,

  2. ውድ ወገኖቼ በመጀመሪያ ደረጃ የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት አልሸባብን እዋጋ ነበር የሚለን የእርዳታ እጅ እየጠበቀ ነበር። በፓለቲካውም በገንዘብም። ይህ ርዳታ ችላ ካለ አልሸባብ የእኔ ጠላት ነው ብሎ ያመነ አይደለም። የማይታመን እንዴውም ይህንን ስስ የሆነ የፀጥታ ስራ በሃላፊነት አይወጣም። በሌላ እጁ ከአሸባሪው ጋር ይሰራል ብለው የሚያምኑ ብዙ ናቸው። ትልቁ ነገር በሶማሊያ ከእልሸባብ ጋር ሲዋጉ የኖሩትን ወታደሮች እናከብራለን።መንግስት ግን የቆረጠ ልብ የለውም። ይህንን የፀጥታ ስራ ቢዝነስ አርጎታል። ነገር ግን እኛ ኢትዮጵያውያን የምናምነው አልሸባብ ከፍተኛ ስጋታችን በመሆኑ ከማንም በላይ ልንዋጋው ይገባል። ድጋፍ መጠየቅ ከአለም ጋር መተባበር አለብን። ነገር ግን ትግሉ የኛ ነው።

  3. Dear Compatriots,

    I agree with the previous contributor. TPLF launched “regional peacekeeping” as a task as far back as 1994 when al Ithaad al Islamiya (AIAI) withdrew from the Transitional Government of Ethiopia. AIAI imploded in 2000 only to re-emerge Islamic Courts Union (ICU) 2006 under the leadership of former head of AIAI. TPLF invaded Somalia and defeated ICU. It was a botched military intervention generating deep Somali resentment. In the end TPLF had nothing to show for the life and treasure lost by Ethiopia and her allies. Al Shabab is the latest rendition of AIAI, funded by Saudi Arabia via al-Qaida. As the previous contributor correctly suggested TPLF’s ‘military’ interventions remain business ventures, albeit incompetently and duplicitously executed. Their present withdrawal from the Somali town is an indication that TPLF is running out of cash.

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