Ethiopian troop’s presence in Somalia causes confusion between leaders
Mogadishu (Harar24) –The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, outlined in an interview that the Ethiopian forces will remain in Somalia until Al-Shabaab are defeated, which was part of the agreement Ethiopia signed with the AMISOM.
The interview which covered a range of subjects including operations carried out by their forces in Somalia & their merging with AMISOM, Hailemariam Desalegn highlighted that Ethiopian forces were doing well and will not leave Somalia until Al-Shabaab were crushed. “We’re waiting until Al-Shabaab are weakened and defeated, based on this we agreed to joined the AMISOM forces, and then perhaps we can talk about withdrawing from Somalia”.
These recent statements however prove contrary to recent statements made by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmud last week, in an interview with a popular Somali TV station, wherein he claimed that the Ethiopian forces in Somalia would leave the country after eighteen months. Upon being asked about the presence of Ethiopian forces in Somalia, the President responded: “The Ethiopian troops are unlike the other AMISOM forces, meaning that they have a fixed time, namely eighteen months, after which they’ll leave” he said
These seeming contradicting statements shed light on the popular belief that the Somali government has very little or no say at all regarding foreign interventions in Somalia, especially from neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia, who cross the border to enter and exit as they please.
“In an attempt to convince the public that the Ethiopian forces will leave after eighteen months, President Hassan Mahmud is clearly misleading the Somali public, whether he intends this or not” says independent Mogadishu based analyst, Warsame Guled. “For the last two decades Ethiopia has freely been entering Somalia without any approval from the Somali government, very little has changed since then” he added.
Others suggest that with proclamations such as the Ethiopians leaving in eighteen months, President Mahmud is merely trying to affirm his authority, when in reality there’s little of that. “The eighteen months period suggested by the President as the withdrawal date for the Ethiopian troops seems like an attempt to pacify the people, when in reality after eighteen months his presidential term would be over, with new elections being held in the country” said a Somali analyst who spoke based on anonymity.
Ethiopia which’s viewed by many Somalis as their archenemy, has invaded Somalia on numerous occasions, including in late 2006 in an attempt to oust the Islamic Courts Union, in which they succeeded. However after the removal of the Islamic Courts Union, a more hard line Islamist movement known as Al-Shabaab appeared from the shambles of the Islamic Courts Union. Many experts are concerned that Ethiopia’s occupation will only boost the numbers of Somalis joining the Al-Shabaab movement and strengthening it.