December 16, 2006

Somali legislators say Ethiopia was never invited

MOGADISHU, Somalia Dec 15 (Garowe Online) - Somali lawmakers in the nation's capital Mogadishu said on Friday that Ethiopian troops were never "invited" to enter the country by the interim Somali government.

MP Omar Hashi said that top officials in the Somali government unilaterally invited Ethiopia to deploy ground troops into the country.

"The Somali Parliament did not vote for neighboring countries to enter Somalia," said MP Hashi, who is among more than 60 legislators who are currently in Mogadishu to oppose the presence of Ethiopian troops in Baidoa, where the interim government is based.

MP Hashi said the parliament voted for a peacekeeping force that specifically excluded troops from Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

Ethiopian government spokespeople have said that Ethiopian military trainers will not leave Somalia unless the Somali government rescinds the invitation.

The Islamic Courts militia that control Mogadishu and much of central and southern Somalia have given Ethiopian troops until Tuesday to withdraw peacefully from Somali soil or face all-out war.


Ethiopian soldiers and armored vehicles withdrew from Qura Jome village on Thursday night, residents reported.

The Ethiopians have been in the border village for weeks but withdrew after consultations between officers and local elders, according to Nabadoon Mohamed Abdiqadir who was contacted by Garowe Online in his Qura Jome home.

The Nabadoon said the Ethiopian soldiers requested that the locals do not welcome the Islamic Courts militia into the village or they will be forced to come back for war.

It's the first time Ethiopian soldiers withdrew from Somali border areas after consulting with townsfolk.

Garowe Online News

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