Somalia’s ambassador to UN accusses Ethiopian army of illegally entering the border with Somalia

159

Somalia’s ambassador to the United Nations has on Monday accused the Ethiopian army of illegally entering the border with Somalia, which led to a confrontation with the local security forces.

At least 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers are in Somalia as part of the African Union’s ATMIS peacekeeping mission in the fight against the Al-Shabaab group that controls many parts of Somalia.

Another 5,000-7,000 Ethiopian troops are stationed in several regions, under contract outside ATMIS.

However, units of the Ethiopian soldiers crossed into Hiran region on Saturday, saying that they were studying a possible threat from the Al-Shabaab group and they retreated on Sunday, according to some local elders.

The Ethiopian army and the spokesperson of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have not yet responded to this issue.

Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman said that the “events” in Ethiopia forced his country to postpone the next departure of the ATMIS troops in July, which has now been pushed to September.

ATMIS is scheduled to leave the country on December 31, when it is expected to be replaced by other smaller forces.

Relations between Somalia and Ethiopia worsened in January this year after Addis Ababa signed a maritime agreement with the Somaliland administration in northern Somalia.

The agreement allowed Somaliland to establish a port and a naval base in the maritime territory, in addition to the recognition it received from Addis-Ababa, which Ethiopia has not yet confirmed.

Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, who recently gave an interview to The Economist newspaper, said that the 20x20km coastal area will stretch from Lughaya to Bulghar, where Ethiopia will build a naval base.

Many countries in the world have expressed full support for Somalia, which became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council on June 6.

Somalia has also signed a defense agreement with Turkey, which stipulates that Ankara will protect it from anyone who violates its independence and nationalism.