Meles begins Somalia troop withdrawal

January 18th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 17 (UPI) – Ethiopian troops have begun to withdraw from some areas in southern Somalia according to a published report in a Somaliland newspaper.aatuf, a Somali-language daily based in Hargeysa, the capital of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, said in its Jan. 17 edition that Ethiopian troops are pulling out of the Jubba regions and some districts in southwestern Somalia, the BBC reports.

The newspaper said the “unexpected” Ethiopian troop pullout came on the heels of a brief visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to Kenya on Tuesday.

This report has not yet been confirmed by any other news Somali source.

The report also said transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf left Mogadishu on Tuesday for Addis Ababa where he is slated to meet Meles to discuss the urgent deployment of an African peacekeeping force. Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi already told the parliament troops from at least five countries would arrive within two weeks, but only Uganda has so far committed peacekeepers.

Ethiopian forces ousted Islamist militia Dec. 28 from the capital of Mogadishu, although sporadic fighting has continued. The Islamists have vowed to keep up their guerilla war until Ethiopian forces leave.

Somalia has not had a stable central governemnt since 1991, when warlords overthrew leader Mohammad Siad Barre and plunged the country into anarchy.

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