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Friday March 24th 2017

Ethiopian PM hints of re-sending troops to Somalia

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi on Wednesday hinted re-sending troops to Somalia if the African Union Mission In Somalia (AMISOM) becomes under heavy threat.

Speaking to journalists in Addis Ababa, Meles said ; “If the lives of AMISOM peacekeeper becomes under threat, and they ask for our support, we will not hesitate to send troops [to Somalia],” said Meles, adding ; “This is however a completely hypothetical case”.

It is to be recalled that Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia in 2007 and drove from power the Islamic Courts Union (UIC) within two weeks, after the UIC declared a holy war (Jihad) on Ethiopia, and only withdrew after two years when AMIOSM was deployed to that country.

Since then Ethiopia has always maintained that it will not resend its troops to Somalia for such a mission.

However, Prime Minister Meles said that his country will do utmost if AMISOM comes under heavy threat and requested by the African Union for support.

Currently, there are around 5,000 troops in Somalia from Uganda and Burundi helping the the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia in stabilizing the country, which remains without an effective central government for the past 19 years.

With regard to hints by some countries of involving Al Shabab in dialogue to solve the current problem in Somalia, Meles said, “Negotiations with Al Shabab in any way would be very dangerous for the region.”

He also indicated that Ethiopia was always vigilant for any attack by Al Shabab in the country.

It is to be recalled that last month, Al Shabab attacked an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala, the Ugandan capital where over 70 people died while watching the World Cup final.

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