Ethiopian troops have reportedly crossed into Somalia after the transitional government there made a plea for foreign forces to help battle insurgents. Somalia’s parliamentary speaker made the request June 20 after several days of heavy fighting in the north of the capital, Mogadishu. “The government is weakened by the rebel forces. We ask neighboring countries—including Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen—to send troops to Somalia within 24 hours,” Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur AKA “Madobe.” Echoing remarks made by Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in recent days, Madobe says the government is fighting al-Qaeda, which has established bases in Somalia and is determined to take over the country.
Thousands of residents have fled heavy fighting in north Mogadishu between government and allied militias and the insurgent groups al-Shabab and Hisbul Islam. On June 19, gunmen kidnapped and killed Mohamed Hussein Adow, a lawmaker close to President Sharif. He was the third government official to be killed violently in as many days. On June 18, the country’s security minister, Omar Hashi Aden, was killed in a suicide bombing at a hotel in Beletweyne near the border with Ethiopia.
At least 10 people were killed and 20 injured by a mortar blast at a mosque in Mogadishu June 18. Guillermo Bettocchi, the UN refugee agency’s representative to Somalia, told BBC the recent spate of bloodletting in the Somali capital is the “worst ever” in nearly two decades of chaos. The ongoing violence has killed more than 250 people—civilians and combatants—since it erupted last month. (AlJazeera, VOA, June 20; BBC News, June 18)
Ethiopian incursions into Somalia were also reported last month.