Ethiopia arming Somali militias

February 17, 2009

MOGADIHSU (Sh. M. Network)-Ethiopia started arming and training Somali militias in Mustahil District in the Somalia regional state of Ethiopia, witnesses said on Tuesday.

Sources say the Somali militias led by former warlords who were forced to flee from Hiiraan ,Gedo, Bay and Galgaduud regions in Somalia are regrouping in Mustahil, where Ethiopian officers are training their militias

Ethiopia‘s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Friday he would support any group that wants assistance to face al-Shabaab and recapture the territories they used to control.

Mr. Meles sent Ethiopian troops to Somalia in 2006 to drive out the Islamic Courts Union led by Sheikh Sharif, but pulled out his troops from Somalia after two years of unpopular occupation.

Thousands of innocent civilians were killed and millions were displaced during the Ethiopian occupation and Human rights organizations accused Ethiopian troops of committing war crimes in Somalia.

Meles said Ethiopia has no objection to Sheikh Sharif forming an Islamist government, if that’s what Somalis want. But diplomats say Ethiopia is never pleased with strong Somali government next door and that is why Ethiopia is always arming and training rebel militias.