By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
November 12, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – A senior government official on Tuesday said that Ethiopian troops will join the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as part of the battle against the al-Qaida-allied al-Shabaab insurgent group.
- Burundi Chief of Defence Forces, Major General Prime Niyongabo, greets senior officers from the Burundi Contingent serving with AMISOM stationed in the capital of Bay Region, south-central Somalia, during a visit on 30 August 2013. AU-UN IST PHOTO / ABDI DAKAN
"Ethiopian troops will join Kenyan and Ugandan troops to make AMISOM’s peace keeping operation more secure” Ethiopia’s ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson, Ambassador Dina Mufti told Sudan Tribune.
The official said Ethiopia has already put forward the request to AMISOM and is hoping to join the mission soon.
Ethiopia’s decision to join AMISOM comes one week after the East African nation received a renewed terrorism threat from al-Shabaab.
In September an armed group attacked a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi killing at least 67 people. Al-Shabaab killed 74 people watching the football world cup in Kampala the capital of Uganda in retaliation for their presence in Somalia with AMISOM.
The country’s security services last Wednesday said that it has found concrete evidence that al-Shabaab - allegedly backed by Eritrea - is preparing to carryout terrorist attacks in the capital Addis Ababa and in other parts of the country.
Following the threat, Ethiopia has put its security forces and police on high alert.
Mufti said Ethiopia’s move to join AMISON was also as part of the renewed joint efforts by regional countries to fight terrorism in the volatile Horn of Africa region.
Ethiopian and Kenyan security chiefs have began consulting on ways of putting the joint operation to effect.
Currently, an estimated 8,000 Ethiopian troops are independently fighting al-Shabaab, a group which repeatedly vowed to attack Ethiopia in retaliation to its military intervention in Somalia, which first began in 2006 to help the weak Somalia government fight Islamist militants.