Ethiopia blames “lack of support” for withdrawing its troops from Somalia

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Ethiopia has cited lack of international support as a reason for withdrawing its troops from Somalia where they had been battling Islamist militants.

The European Union recently cut in its funding for foreign troops in Somalia.

Ethiopia is a major contributor of soldiers to the AMISON, the African Union mission in the country.

Several bases where Ethiopia withdrew from were quickly occupied by al-Shabaabmilitants with officials in Somalia’s Bakol region saying some residents have already fled the area since the Ethiopian troops left.

Ethiopian Communications Minister Getachew Reda told the BBC that the troops withdrawn from south-western Somalia were not part of AMISOM.

“It is a separate batch deployed to provide support for AMISON and Somali armed forces,” Mr Getachew said.

He also denied reports that the withdrawal was linked to unrest at home which led to a state of emergency being declared, saying there were enough troops to handle that.

He said the Somali army should have been in a position to move in after Ethiopia’s withdrawal.

“The international community has a responsibility either to train or to support the Somali National Army,” he said.

He went on to warn that indifference would only pave the way for an al-Shabab takeover.

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