From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Feb 19 2009 - 07:33:45 EST
Somalia: Islamist Leader Blames Ethiopia
19 February 2009
Mogadishu - Mohamed Ibrahim Bilaal, one of Somali Islamist leaders, has
blamed Thursday Ethiopia of creating chaos in Somalia, after Ethiopian
troops re-entered in the country yesterday.
Eyewitnesses said Wednesday more Ethiopian troops with about 60 military
vehicles entered in Rabdhuure district in Bakool region and Yeed Village in
south west Somalia.
Locals said more civilians started fleeing from the towns that the Ethiopian
troops entered, where they have reportedly arrested many people.
Mr. Bilaal said Ethiopia is an obstacle to Somali peace process. He added
that clan elders have been mediating between al-Shabaab Islamists and
government officials in Bakool region.
"Ethiopia is anti Somali peace and it is arming and training rebel militias
to attack Somali regions again," Bilaal said.
Ethiopia sent its troops to Somalia in 2006 to oust the Islamic Courts
Union, but completely withdrew its troops from Somalia last month.
Ethiopia denied that its troops re-entered Somalia, but residents confirmed
the returning of the Ethiopian soldiers.
It is not known why the Ethiopian troops have returned back to Somalia, but
Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian prime minister, said on Friday that Somali president
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed could not give him guarantee that Somalia would not
plunge into chaos.
Meles Zenawi admitted Ethiopia paid a high price for its military
intervention in Somalia, both in terms of lives lost, as well as its
battered international image. Human rights groups accused Ethiopian soldiers
of repeated war crimes.
Islamist forces control Baidoa, the former seat of the transitional
parliament, where the Ethiopian troops fled weeks ago after two years of
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