From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Dec 09 2008 - 12:42:15 EST
Somalia: Military tensions rise as Ethiopia deploys troops into Hiran region
Dec 9, 2008 - 11:39:38 AM
BELETWEIN, Somalia Dec 9 (Garowe Online) - Ethiopian troops have reportedly
amassed near the Somali-Ethiopian border, rising military tensions in Hiran
and Galgadud regions, Radio Garowe reported Tuesday.
An Ethiopian army convoy of 20 military trucks has reportedly reached a
village 30km northwest of Beletwein, the capital of Hiran region.
Beletwein is a major population center and has been under the control of the
Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in recent months.
Residents said ICU militia had set up defensive positions early Tuesday
morning around Beletwein, with locals apprehensive about a possible
Sheikh Abdirahman Ibrahim Ma'ow, the ICU chief in Hiran, confirmed to RG
that the Islamist fighters in the region were deployed at strategic
Conflicting reports have emerged about the Ethiopian army buildup in Hiran,
with some reports suggesting that the Ethiopian garrison is planning to
block a possible Al Shabaab retreat from Galgadud region.
Al Shabaab fighters seized the region's capital and a trading down last
week, but a fresh convoy of Ethiopian troops arrived in Galgadud on Monday
and locals fear military hostilities could erupt in the region any moment.
loys_fresh_troops_to_Galgaduud.shtml> Ethiopia deploys fresh troops to
The Ethiopian government has announced plans to withdraw its troops from
Somalia soon, but continued territorial gains by the Islamist Al Shabaab
faction in the central regions is seen as a growing threat.
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