Annihilate Shebaab - Ethiopia

2010-07-15 21:14

Addis Ababa - Somalia's al-Qaeda-inspired Shebaab, who claimed responsibility for deadly bombings in Uganda, should be "annihilated", Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Thursday.

Bomb attacks on crowds watching the World Cup final on Sunday in Kampala left at least 76 dead, the deadliest attacks in the region in 12 years and the Shabaab's first such operation outside Somalia.

"There is absolutely no hope of engaging in negotiations with this group. There is no option but to work for their total annihilation," Meles said in an interview with state-run television.

"These people are enemies of mankind who are ready to massacre innocent people without any consideration," added Meles, who was in New York to attend talks on climate change with UN officials.

Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia to topple an Islamist movement in late 2006. The Shebaab, then officially the youth wing of the defeated movement, fought relentlessly against the Ethiopians, who eventually withdrew in early 2009.

Meles also pointed his finger at archfoe Eritrea, which has been accused of supporting the Shebaab, saying the attacks "exposed the nature" of the regime in Asmara.

Relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea have been strained since a 1998-2000 border war which left more than 80 000 dead.

Uganda said on Thursday it was ready to send more troops to Mogadishu following a decision by a regional bloc to send 2 000 troops needed to bring the embattled African Union mission there to its full authorised strength of 8 100.

Meles however told AFP earlier this month that he was not going to redeploy his military inside Somalia, despite announcing previously that he would not hesitate to act if Islamist insurgents seized power.