Ethiopian troops join Africa force in Somalia

2014-01-22 14:02
(AFP, File)

(AFP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mogadishu – At least 4 000 Ethiopian troops in Somalia on Wednesday formally joined the UN-backed African Union force in the country as it seeks to boost operations against al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels, officials said.

Hardline Shabaab insurgents control large parts of rural southern Somalia, and despite having been driven from a string of towns by the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), guerrilla units stage regular deadly attacks in the capital Mogadishu.

Ethiopian troops crossed into Somalia in November 2011 to battle Shabaab militants.

Their inclusion into Amisom will free up other units to stage a long-awaited offensive on Shabaab bases in the far southern regions of Lower and Middle Shabelle, with Kenyan units advancing from the south, and Uganda and Burundi pressing from the north.

After a series of sweeping victories, the force has remained largely still for around a year, hampered by limited troops and air power to advance again.

The Shabaab-controlled port of Barawe, one of the last sea access routes for the extremists, is a key target for the force.

"Ethiopian troops will constitute AMISOM's sixth contingent," the force said on Wednesday, with soldiers re-hatting to join troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

"The Ethiopian deployment will permit Burundian and Ugandan forces to move into parts of Lower and Middle Shabelle," the mission said in a statement, suggesting preparations for a fresh offensive are gathering pace.

Unique military operation

Ethiopia's contribution of three battalions takes the AU force to the 22 000-strong level mandated by the UN Security Council, who last year boosted the authorised force by a third.

Their troops are based mainly in southern border zones, including in the towns of Baidoa and Beledweyne.

"New battalions have been sent and they are on the ground now," said Getachew Reda, spokesperson for Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

"Forces have been deployed into their respective sector within south-central Somalia."

Amisom, first deployed in 2007, is a unique military operation as it is run by the African Union, but with a UN mandate. Most of its financing comes from the European Union and other international donors.

Ethiopia denied suggestions it was joining Amisom to win external funding of the military, saying that joining the force would improve coordination in the fight against the Shabaab.

"It's not a funding issue, we have been bearing the brunt both financially and materially - in terms of loss of life - for the last two years," Getachew told AFP.

"Without harmonising our efforts with Amisom and other stakeholders... the kind of result we'd like couldn't really be achieved."

Devastating attacks

Ethiopia had sent troops into its lawless neighbour in a US-backed invasion in 2006, but the move sparked a bloody uprising and the troops pulled out three years later after failing to restore order.

The Shabaab once controlled most of southern and central Somalia but withdrew from fixed positions in Mogadishu two years ago.

But a string of devastating Shabaab attacks against foreign and government targets have shattered hopes of a rebirth for the war-ravaged capital and demonstrated that the Islamist outfit's disruptive power is undiminished.

The group also claimed responsibility for last year's deadly attack in neighbouring Kenya, when commandos stormed the upmarket Westgate mall, shooting shoppers and hurling grenades.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  ethiopia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Frelimo man promises change

2014-09-18 23:21
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Africa
 

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose

A device that converts nose breaths into speech will open new doors for people with Parkinson’s or motor neuron disease.

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may take extra pride in your work today. You have a need to shine and be respected so you may put the extra effort and TLC...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.