Ethiopian troops in Somalia hand over security to Somalis
www.chinaview.cn 2009-01-13 22:31:02   Print

    By Abburrahman Warsameh

Peacekeepers from the African Union Mission in Somalia guard outside the office of the Prime Minister in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 13, 2009. Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases. (Xinhua/Abdurrahman Warsameh)

Peacekeepers from the African Union Mission in Somalia guard outside the office of the Prime Minister in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 13, 2009. Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases. (Xinhua/Abdurrahman Warsameh)
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    MOGADISHU, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases.

    At the farewell ceremony held at the office of the caretaker Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, the Ethiopian Commander Col. Gabre Yohannes Abate handed over security responsibilities for Somalia to a joint security forces from the transitional government of Somalia and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

    The Ethiopian troops vacated some of their bases in the north of the Somali capital as part of a full withdrawal from Somalia, two years after they entered the country to help the Somali government retake south central Somalia from an Islamist movement that controlled.

    Most of the south and central Somalia is now controlled by insurgent groups while the Somali government forces and small number of African peacekeepers protect the capital, Mogadishu and the southern Somali town of Baidoa, the seat of the parliament.

The Ethiopian Commander Col. Gabre Yohannes Abate attends the farewell ceremony for Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 13, 2009. Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases. (Xinhua/Abdurrahman Warsameh)

The Ethiopian Commander Col. Gabre Yohannes Abate attends the farewell ceremony for Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 13, 2009. Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases. (Xinhua/Abdurrahman Warsameh)
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    Speaking at the ceremony the Somali Premier thanked the Ethiopian government for its "support and sacrifices" for the stability of the war-torn horn of Africa country and opposition officials at the ceremony expressed their gratitude for Ethiopia's fulfillment of its commitment under the peace agreement.

    Insurgent fighters from different factions flooded the Ethiopian bases as the troops retreated to other stations in the south of the capital Mogadishu amid fears rival factions would fight over control of the bases which were supposed to be taken over by joint forces from Somali government and the moderate opposition faction the ARS.

    It is not yet clear when Ethiopian troops will fully withdraw from Somalia but gradual pull out of the troops have began since the Ethiopian government announced its decision to withdraw its troops from Somalia late last November.

    The Ethiopian troops entered into Somalia late 2006 to help Somali government topple and Islamist administration that ruled much of southern and central Somalia. The presence of Ethiopian troops has been unpopular and a contentious issue in the reconciliation talks between the Somali government and the opposition. 

The caretaker Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein speaks during the farewell ceremony for Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 13, 2009. Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases. (Xinhua/Abdurrahman Warsameh)

The caretaker Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein speaks during the farewell ceremony for Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 13, 2009. Commander of the Ethiopian troops in Somalia Tuesday handed over security for the country to officials from the Somali transitional government and a key opposition faction at a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, hours after the troops began vacating some of their bases. (Xinhua/Abdurrahman Warsameh)
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Editor: Mu Xuequan
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