Ethiopia deploys more troops to Somalia
53 minutes ago
MOGADISHU (AFP) — Ethiopia has deployed more troops to the Somali capital, a day after insurgents paraded what they said were the bodies of three Ethiopian soldiers in the streets of Mogadishu, witnesses said Saturday.
Six tanks and about 60 military trucks packed with troops were seen entering Mogadishu amid an escalation of the insurgency.
The deployment comes a day after Shabab, the radical armed wing of the main Somali Islamist movement, displayed the bodies of Ethiopian troops they had killed in nothern Mogadishu.
It was not clear whether the fresh deployment was linked to the display of bodies.
Ethiopian troops have been venturing deeper into the streets of Islamist bastions in recent days in a bid to break the back of an insurgency that has plagued efforts to stabilise the transitional government for months.
The Ethiopian army came to the rescue of the embattled Somali government last year to oust an Islamist militia that briefly controlled large parts of the country and sought to impose Islamic law.
The Islamic Courts Union was swiftly defeated earlier this year, but its remnants and allied tribes have since waged a guerrilla war against their enemies.
However, the heavy-handed crackdown on the insurgents has also angered many in Mogadishu. Three civilians were killed late last month when Ethiopian troops opened fire on demonstrators protesting against their presence.
The UN refugee agency has said up to 90,000 civilians were displaced in Mogadishu in the fighting, which was "the worst in months."
The parading of dead Ethiopian troops through the streets of Mogadishu was reminiscent of 1993, when the bodies of US special forces taking part in a doomed operation were torn to pieces and paraded in the streets.
Alarmed by the escalating violence in Mogadishu, 40 aid groups warned of an "unfolding humanitarian catastrophe" in parts of Somalia and said they could no longer meet the country's growing relief needs.