Ethiopian troops are likely to head
back to Somalia in the coming few weeks after two
years since they withdrew ending its two and half
years presence there. The Inter Governmental
Authority on Development (IGAD) during its 19th
extraordinary meeting of the heads of states of
member countries held on Friday, 25, 2011, called
upon Ethiopia to support Kenyan and the African
Union Mission in Somalia.
Around 9,000 AMISOM soldiers, mostly
from Uganda and Brundui, are on the ground fighting
Al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group categorised by
Ethiopia as terrorist group, trying to take over
control of Somalia. They have been joined by Kenyan
troops six weeks ago which went into the country
claiming self defence.
The call for Ethiopia to support
these troops comes amid reports of sightings of
Ethiopian troops in Somalia by many international
news outlets. This was categorically denied by
“If we already had forces in
Somalia, then it would not make sense for IGAD to
call for our support,” Dina Mufti, spokesperson for
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Fortune “We
have heard of these allegations and still maintain
that they are untrue.”
However, the call for help is likely
to get a positive response. The type and duration of
support is yet to be decided, according to Dina.
“However Ethiopia had never failed
IGAD and will not do so now,” he told Fortune.
The heads of states also condemned
Eritrea for supplying ammunitions to Al Shabab. This
accusation has been coming from Kenya, the United
Nations and Ethiopia. Although the UN Security
Council has put a travel sanction on officials of
Eritrea before, the IGAD has been calling for more
stringent measures. Gabon has tabled a draft
resolution that just does that. It calls for ban of
imports on Eritrean minerals and also prohibits
foreign mining companies from investing in the
nation's mining sector.
A ban on the two per cent diaspora
tax paid by Eritreans working aboard is also called
for in the draft. If passed this would be a big blow
for the Eritrean government, whose list of enemies
is growing by the day including the United State,
whose state department recently issued a travel
advisory to its citizens three weeks ago.