Ethiopia not planning to withdraw from Somalia: PM


Press TV

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Deslaegn says his country is not planning to withdraw its troops from Somalia.

Hailemariam said on Friday that Ethiopia will do whatever within its power to fight al-Shabab.

However, he did not say how many Ethiopian troops are stationed in Somalia.

The al-Shabab group is an off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in Somalia and fights against the foreign forces in country.

The Ethiopian premier made comments after al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack on the partly Israeli-owned Westgate shopping mall in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on September 21 in protest against the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia.

“The Christian government of Kenya invaded our country in October 2011 killing many innocent civilians with their military jets,” al-Shabab spokesman Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said.

Kenya has more than 4,000 army soldiers in southern Somalia, where they have been battling the al-Shabab fighters since 2011.

The Kenyan troops are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that gets training and equipment from the United States.

Ethiopian troops also invaded Somalia in November 2011 to fight against al-Shabab militants.