Garowe, Somalia — Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole sent his condolences to the family of Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who died from illness, Radio Garowe reports.
According to Ethiopian state TV Meles died Monday night due to an infection, however reports have stated that the Ethiopian leader who had been out the public eye for the past two months had been reeling from illness.
President Farole who spoke briefly to media on Tuesday said that he was saddened by the death of Meles and sent condolences to the family of Meles and the people of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is one of many countries stationed in southern and south central Somalia fighting Al Shabaab in a battle against the terrorist network that began last November for Ethiopia.
Meles repeatedly stated that his forces would withdraw when stability is brought back in Somalia and the threat of Al Shabaab is gone.
Ethiopia entered Somalia in 2006 with the backing of the international community to subdue the threat of an Islamic group labeled radicals which had battled with Transitional Federal Government over control.
Ethiopia after being entrenched in battle with the radicals who splintered and became Al Shabaab withdrew from Somalia in 2009 after heavy criticism from Somalis both abroad and in East Africa who saw the intervention as an occupation.
Meles Zenawi who led Ethiopia as Prime Minister for 17 years transformed Ethiopia into a very developed nation in East Africa and is credited in unifying Ethiopians from all walks of life to work together peacefully.
He died at the age of 57 and is survived by his wife Azeb Mesfin and three children.