20 June 2008

Somalia: Top Army Officer Resigns After Dispute With Ethiopian Forces

A high-ranking official in Somalia National Armed Forces has resigned saying that he could not tolerate the interference of the Ethiopian military officials in Somali army affairs, particularly at Daynunay military camp where he used to serve.

The resignation of logistic commander of 17th Brigade at Daynunay camp, Col Isse Muhammad Hussein (Isse Gab) is due to a misunderstanding among the organizing officials of the army.

"I have decided to resign from the Somalia National Armed Forces, and as head of Daynunay military camp due to a misunderstanding between me and the Ethiopian military officials regarding their behaviors towards the Somali forces and Somali people." said Col Hussein.

Somali presidents repeatedly declared that the Ethiopian troops arrived in Somalia with the consent of Somali agreement and will withdraw from in agreement.

"Ethiopian forces came to Somalia through an agreement with the interim government, and they will leave the country also through an agreement" he emphasized "As far as the interim government is concerned, there are no obstacles to the implementation of the Djibouti agreement, for we are committed to it, and so is the opposition, which - with a few exceptions that still reject the agreement - announced that it would honour the agreement and wants peace in the country" President Yusuf said.

Ethiopian troops have been in Somalia for 18 months since helping the government oust the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) that ruled much of Somalia in 2006.

The country has experienced almost constant civil conflict since the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre's regime in January 1991.

Last week's deal was signed by a top Islamist leader, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and Prime Minister Nur Adde, but another Islamist leader has promised to continue fighting.

The three-month ceasefire provides for Ethiopian troops to leave the country within 120 days.

Many Somalis see the Somali government as weak and corrupt, and it comes under daily attack by the insurgents, who have vowed to fight an Iraq-style insurgency.

Some 2,200 African Union troops are in Mogadishu, but have done little to quell the violence which has triggered a humanitarian crisis that aid workers say may be the worst in Africa.

It is estimated that the conflict has created more than one million refugees.

Somalia has experienced almost constant civil conflict since the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre's regime in January 1991.

The invasion of Ethiopian to Somalia was not without precedent: Ethiopia twice crossed into Somalia, in 1993 and 1996, to crush attempts by Islamists to establish control.

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