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Somalia’s Al-Shabaab threatens retaliation as Ethiopian troops join AMISOM

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

January 26, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Al-Qaida allied Somalia’s insurgent group, Al-Shabaab on Saturday vowed to carryout a new wave of attacks against foreign peacekeeping forces.

The warning comes after Ethiopian troops officially joined the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) under United Nations Security Council resolution approved in January.

Ethiopian officials told Sudan Tribune that 4,395 Ethiopia troops on Wednesday officially joined AMISOM bringing the total number African peacekeepers in Somalia to over 22,000.

Al-Shabaab spokesperson Ali Mohamud Rageh, told the AFP news agency that in reaction to Ethiopia joining the AU force its top commanders held a meeting this week to discuss mounting new attacks.

"They [top commanders] have declared that the Somali people must intensify their war against AMISOM" Rageh said.

"We defeated Ethiopia before and we know how to battle them now” he said adding that the inclusion of Ethiopian force shows a weakening of the AMISOM force.

"It reflects the fact that Somalia has been partitioned between Kenya and Ethiopia, and the international community is legalizing that partition”, he added.

Under the new AMISOM concept of operation - to be implemented in the near future - the Ethiopian forces will take over sector 3 and help Djiboutian peacekeepers who are in charge of sector 4.

"The Ethiopian contingent will work and operate under AMISOM Force Commander Instructions and orders,” AMISOM Force Commander Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa said.

Brigadier General Gebremedhin Fikadu, Commander of the Ethiopian forces to his side assured that his forces will successfully carryout their duties and responsibilities.

"I assure you that Ethiopia’s Defense Force will make a difference in AMISOM operation by clearing Al-Shabaab from sector 3 and 4 under the command of the force headquarters and completely implement AMISOM’s concept of operation in each of its military activities” he said.

Ethiopia is the sixth African country to join AMISOM, following Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, Uganda and Sierra Leone.

AMISOM, which was established by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council in January 2007, is trying to restore peace and stability in to Somalia.

(ST)

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