Ethiopian Troops Pour Into Central Somalia

Ethiopian Forces Cross Border, Begin Rounding Up Somali Villagers

by Jason Ditz, October 11, 2009

Ethiopia appears to have launched yet another incursion into Somalia, with hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers pouring across the border into Central Somalia and rounding up villagers suspected of having ties to the insurgency.

Locals say the Ethiopian forces were accompanied by soldiers affiliated with the self-proclaimed Somali government and the forces cut off the communication lines in the villages.

Ethiopia previously launched an invasion of Somalia in 2006 with the blessing of the US government. The invasion was an attempt to prop up the Somali government, which at the time was struggling in the face of growing support for the Islamic Courts Union.

Ethiopia declared victory and left in December of 2008, though by then the Islamic Courts Union (which has since become part of the Ethiopia-backed “government”) had been supplanted by a more violent group, al-Shahaab, which rose to chase foreign forces out of the nation.

At this point, the government controls little more than a handful of city blocks in Mogadishu, though its forces often will briefly occupy central Somali villages before being driven off by militants.

It is unclear what Ethiopia hopes to accomplish with the latest incursions, as, rhetoric aside, their much larger 2006 invasion force failed to impose rule on any significant portion of the nation and the situation has only gotten worse since then.

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