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Ethiopia and Somalia

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Ethiopian tanks move into battle with Somalia Islamists
December 23, 2006 - 12:14PM
Source: ABC
Ethiopia has moved tanks and other reinforcements into the battle zone for a third day of fighting against Islamist forces in southern Somalia, witnesses say.

Islamists have vowed an all-out war.

As the clashes intensified on twin fronts, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says fighting had left "dozens" dead and left many homeless.

But the government says its Ethiopian-backed forces had killed more than 500 Islamist fighters since Wednesday when violence erupted near the government-held town of Baidoa.

"We are very concerned about the plight of civilians who might get caught up in the fighting," Pascal Hundt said, the ICRC's chief for Somalia.

"We call on all parties involved in the clashes to spare and protect civilians and to take every precaution when conducting military operations," he said in a statement.

The ICRC urged rival sides "to ensure that wounded and captured fighters are protected and receive treatment and that medical staff, hospitals and clinics are spared from attacks".

Hospitals and clinics in the region had admitted at least 200 wounded since Wednesday, the ICRC says.

Somali Information Minister Ali Jama said fatalities were reported on two fronts east and south of the Baidoa, about 250 kilometres north-west of the capital Mogadishu.

"The combined total from two fronts is over 500 Islamists killed since Wednesday," Mr Jama told AFP.

The figure could not be independently verified.

"Most of those killed are innocent children who have been sent to the frontline. It is unfortunate because we have been forced into this ... we do not like shedding the blood of children," Mr Jama said.

Ultimatum expires

Fighting erupted early on Wednesday, hours after the expiry of an Islamist-imposed ultimatum for thousands of Ethiopian troops the Islamists say have been deployed to back the government.

"Our Mujahideen are ready to defend themselves from the invading enemies," Islamic commander Hassan Bullow told AFP.

"This war is a religious obligation and we are here to fight for our religion against the enemies until we die."

Ethiopia is supporting Somalia's weakened government against the Islamist forces, which control the capital Mogadishu and much of the rest of the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.

The two sides traded heavy shellfire on Friday east and south of Baidoa, the government says.

"The fighting is continuing heavily on both fronts," Mr Jama told AFP.

"Much fighting is taking place, mainly in Idale and Dinsoor," he said, referring to outposts about 60 kilometres and 120 kilometres south of Baidoa.

Clash fears

In central Somalia, residents say Ethiopian military trucks headed to Sadehigle, outside the Muslim-held town of Bandiradley, about 630 kilometres north of Mogadishu, sparking fears of possible clashes.

Witnesses say Ethiopian tanks travelled overnight to Daynunay, a flashpoint garrison town about 30 kilometres to the east of Baidoa, where shelling was reported.

Clashes erupted on Wednesday, a day after the expiry of a deadline issued by the Islamists for Ethiopian troops to pull out.

The Islamists have complained about the silence of the Arab League and African Union over the dispute.

"Why are they ignoring what is taking place in the ground?" Sheikh Mohamoud Ibrahim Sulley said, a leading Islamist official.

"The world is silent today while Ethiopian forces are killing us inside our country, but tomorrow when we defeat them and chase them things will be changed, we will inter their territories and at that moment the world will shout," Mr Sulley said.

The fighting and war of words have come despite a statement by European Commission humanitarian chief Louis Michel on Wednesday that he had secured the commitment of both sides to observe a truce and resume peace talks.

Arab League-mediated talks in Khartoum collapsed in November when Islamists refused to negotiate until Ethiopia withdraws its troops.

Thoughts people??

((AFP= Australia Federal Police))

i hope we wont get involved in that ,that war has absolutely nothing to do with us ,i dont really care about the clans or whatever kind of armed forces they have ,what really sucks is that innocent ppl and children are almost when we got involved in 1990 or 91.....,so the ethiopians started the war? i hope this '''war'' ends ,and y did the ethiopians attack?

They don't have oil, unlike Kuveit, so I hardly doubt anyone gives a shit.  Proably after some time and many dead civilians UN manges to get some African country to send in peacekeepers if it's going to last longer.

btw why has this forum got so political lately?

America was already in Somalia in 1993, where you lost Blackhawk helicopters. See the movie Blackhawk down, and America is trying to be nice to the Islamists now, after they invaded 2 mostly Islamist countries and killed soldiers and innocent people (wether on purpose or mistake). So, if Ethiopa starts something major against the Islamists, America would have to get involved in someway, either that or they would become more hated because they didnt act to help the Islamists.

Im not saying that military action is needed, but America has a lot of pulling power, so some kind of political solution would have to be needed.

Who cares about that little so called "war" over there  ::) let them battle... I care about the cililians but let their  druggy, psychotic, careless "Mujahideen" soldiers die.


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