Ethiopian troops move into So­ma­lia

Kenya be­gan at­tack five weeks ago on Is­lamist mil­i­tants it blames for kid­nap­pings

Ottawa Citizen - - WORLD - ABDI SHEIKH

MO­GADISHU • Scores of Ethiopian mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles pushed at least 80 kilo­me­tres into neigh­bour­ing So­ma­lia on Satur­day, res­i­dents said, five weeks af­ter Kenya en­tered So­ma­lia to fight Is­lamist mil­i­tants it blames for a wave of kid­nap­pings on its soil.

“The Ethiopian troops, which are in con­voys of ar­moured ve­hi­cles, come to us to­day, cross­ing from Balan­bale district on the bor­der,” Gabobe Adan, an el­der in the cen­tral town of Guriel said.“they were in about 28 trucks and armed bat­tle wag­ons.”

Other res­i­dents said the Ethiopi­ans had set up a base in Guriel and moved troops to other towns nearby.

Res­i­dents and of­fi­cials in north­east Kenya later said that Ethiopian troops had also crossed through their towns and taken up po­si­tions near bases from where the Kenyan mil­i­tary is launch­ing its of­fen­sive.

“We have seen Ethiopian troops. They are clearly known to us,” said a resi- dent named Le­samow Said. “They ar­rived this evening at Da­masa. Some of the soldiers crossed over to the So­ma­lia side and started pa­trolling im­me­di­ately.”

Peo­ple in the Kenyan town of Man­dera, near both So­ma­lia and Ethiopia, said the Ethiopi­ans had passed through in a con­voy of 10 trucks and sev­eral ar­moured ve­hi­cles.

A spokesman for the Ethiopian govern­ment, Shime­les Ke­mal, would nei­ther con­firm nor deny the re­ports.

An­other Ethiopian of­fi­cial said an Ethiopian move to sup­port the Kenyan as­sault on the al- Qaeda linked al Shabaab group was likely.

“There is a strong pos­si­bil­ity that we will be send­ing troops to So­ma­lia soon to sup­port Kenya’s op­er­a­tion against the al Shabaab ex­trem­ists,” the of­fi­cial said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The in­ten­tion of the Ethiopian troops was not im­me­di­ately clear. One el­der who did not want to be named said they would train So­mali fight­ers loyal to the govern­ment.

Se­nior Kenyan govern­ment min­is­ters have gone around the East Africa re­gion this week and trav­elled to the Gulf to drum up po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial sup­port for a cam­paign to rout the rebels.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.