Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ethiopian troops cross into Somalia

Ethiopian troops have crossed back into the northern regions of Bakool and Hiiraan in Somalia, local residents said. This comes as Somali government vows fresh offensive against Islamist insurgents in the country. Residents in Elbarde and Yeed said they saw convey of Ethiopian troops accompanied by hundreds of Somali military trained in Ethiopia in the towns on Sunday.
Ethiopian troops seized the family of a man with links to al Shabaab insurgents, Reuters reported. Residents said troops went to El Barde and Yeed on Saturday seeking the man.

"The man escaped, but they took with them his wife and three children. They also took the escaped man's brother and family. The troops have now gone but I understand they are in the outskirts of the town," a town resident, Hussein Ronow, told Reuters.

Another residents in the Sariirale, a town on the Ethiopian border in Somalia's Hiiran region said that hundreds of Ethiopian troops have entered the town.

Residents said that Ethiopian troops have searched houses in the town.

Ethiopian officials could not be reached for comment about the reports but Ethiopia denies frequently that its troops re-entered Somalia.

Ethiopia entered Somalia in 2006 to help oust Islamist forces from the capital Mogadishu but withdrew under a UN-backed peace deal.

Ethiopia already made it clear that it still reserve the right to intervene in Somalia if its interests were directly threatened. Somali government has not commented about this development.

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