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More Ethiopian troops enter Somalia
by ALJ
Sunday Aug 20th, 2006 9:54 AM
Hundreds more Ethiopian troops have arrived in the town of Baidoa, the seat of Somalia's largely powerless transitional government, officials and witnesses say.
The soldiers are reportedly taking over the security of an airport which was abandoned when government troops defected to the Islamic militia that controls the capital, Mogadishu, and much of the south of the country.

Witnesses said about 90 government troops went over to the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS), the latest in a series of defections.

Earlier, residents in Awdiinle, about 30km from Baidoa said they saw 11 trucks carrying about 300 heavily armed Ethiopian soldiers pass through.

"We have seen Ethiopian troops here in Awdiinle," a resident told Reuters news agency. "They are advancing towards Baidoa. We know these are Ethiopian troops because of their trucks and their uniforms."

The Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia, formerly called the Islamic Courts Union, said the soldiers came at the request of the government.


Ethiopia moved troops into Somalia last month to protect the Somali government from attacks by the increasingly powerful Islamists who it says are being supplied by neighbouring Eritrea.

Both countries have denied that Ethiopian troops are in the country, but Addis Ababa has threatened to "crush" the Islamic courts if they target the transitional government.

by BBC (reposted)
Sunday Aug 20th, 2006 9:55 AM
Ethiopian troops are approaching the Somali town of Baidoa, seat of Somalia's transitional government.

Ethiopia is the Somali government's main ally against the Islamic militia who control the capital, Mogadishu.

The Somali government has meanwhile declared support for an Eritrean rebel group, accusing Eritrea's government of supporting the Somali Islamists.

Regional rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea have both denied accusations that they are fighting a proxy war in Somalia.

Ethiopia has however said it would intervene if Baidoa came under attack.

The Ethiopian troops entered Somalia at the border town of Dolow about 0400 local time (0100 GMT) on Sunday, the BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan says.

They were later seen with 11 armoured vehicles in the town of Awdinle, 30 km from Baidoa.

A spokesman for the Somali transitional government denied the presence of Ethiopian troops on Somali soil, and said the reports were Islamist propaganda.


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