[dehai-news] Garoweonline.com: Ethiopia masses troops along Somalia border after rebel attacks

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Mar 09 2009 - 16:51:43 EST

Ethiopia masses troops along Somalia border after rebel attacks
Mar 9, 2009 - 11:00:04 AM

BELETWEIN, Somalia Mar 9 (Garowe Online) - Tens of civilian and commercial
vehicles are stuck along the Somali-Ethiopian border, following deadly
battles between Ethiopian troops and ethnic Somali rebels in the region,
Radio Garowe reports.

The fighting in Mustahil district, in eastern Ethiopia's Somali-inhabited
region, killed at least 25 people and wounded scores last week.

In response, the Ethiopian army deployed hundreds of troops backed by
military trucks to the area along the border near Somalia's Hiran region,
local sources reported.

Commercial truck drivers who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed
that the movement of civilian and commercial vehicles has come to a
standstill, as Ethiopian soldiers hunt for Somali rebels.

Ethiopian troops also cut off an important road that links Mustahil district
to Fer Fer district, which serves as a major Ethiopian army base and a
crucial point for civilian and commercial traffic traveling between Ethiopia
and Somalia.

The Ethiopian government has not commented on the ongoing military

Ethiopian troops have been accused of committing war crimes against ethnic
Somalis in the vast Ogaden region, which is home to a Somali population
fighting for self-determination.


Party of Islam rebels vow more attacks on African Union peacekeepers
Mar 9, 2009 - 10:45:35 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia March 9 (Garowe Online) - The chairman of a
recently-formed rebel alliance in Somalia has condemned the country's new
government as an instrument of the West, Radio Garowe reports.

Dr. Omar Iman, chairman of the Party of Islam rebel faction, told a Sunday
press conference in the capital Mogadishu that they will continue attacks
against the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM).

"There is no government we recognize in Somalia, but the government created
in Djibouti is an instrument of American interests," said Sheikh Iman, who
is a highly educated Islamist politician.

Party of Islam rebels were behind two days of battles in late February that
killed upwards of 50 people and attracted condemnation from Mogadishu's

The Party of Islam was created in January and consists of four Islamist
rebel factions, including the Eritrea-based Islamic Courts faction led by
Islamist hardliner Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who is on the U.S. list of

"The AMISOM soldiers are trained by the U.S. military and are instructed to
fight against Islamists in Somalia," Dr. Iman alleged.

He was last reported to have condemned the attacks on AMISOM targets, but is
not clear why he has issued new threats against the National Unity
Government led by Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, former executive
chief of the Islamic Courts movement.

President Sheikh Sharif recently said he will institute Islamic law as
Somalia's national law, pending ratification by the 550-member parliament
composed of secular and Islamist lawmakers.

The Somali leader is currently on a trip to East African capitals, including
Uganda and Burundi, where he is expected to push for the withdrawal of
AMISOM peacekeepers.

Al Shabaab Islamist hardliners have also refused to recognize President
Sheikh Sharif's government and were responsible for a suicide bombing that
killed 11 AMISOM peacekeepers in Mogadishu last month.



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