Sunday, November 27, 2011

Somalia Al-Shabab Rebels Warns Ethiopia of 'Heavy Losses'

Somali Shebab rebels warn Ethiopia of 'heavy' losses'

(AFP) – MOGADISHU — The Shebab Islamist insurgent group warned Ethiopia on Sunday that it would suffer heavy losses if it embarks on any new military intervention in Somalia.

Ethiopian troops, who ended a US-backed three-year incursion into Somalia in 2009, were reported to have once again crossed the border last week as part of an offensive against the Shebab, a claim denied by the government in Addis Ababa.

"This intervention will not be different than that of yesterday and will lead to heavy loss of your soldiers' lives, and be assured that ahead of you is painful death and ruthless imprisonment which will impact on the good living standards you wished for," a Shebab statement said.

The group claims to have ties to Al-Qaeda and controls much of central and southern Somalia.

Sheik Ibrahim Mohamed, an Al-Shabab commander, told AFP that Ethiopia would be returning "before the blood of their sons who were killed in Somalia is even dry."

"Let them come and sniff the kind of gunpowder we have here," Mohamed said.

East African leaders on Friday urged Ethiopia to support Kenyan, African Union and Somali troops battling Shebab rebels in the war-torn Horn of Africa state.

Kenya deployed forces in October to fight the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in southern Somalia, while the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is based in Mogadishu where it protects the weak Somali government from the rebels.

The rebels are also under pressure from the Somali Transitional Federal Government and 9,700 Burundian and Ugandan troops from the AU force.

Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs spokesman Dina Mufti said his country's contribution "will be worked out soon."

Over the weekend, several witnesses told AFP they had seen Ethiopian soldiers cross the border.

Abdi Macin, a driver, claimed he saw a dozen trucks carrying Ethiopian infantry near Kalabeyrka.

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