Ethiopia: Moving the War to Somalia


March 27, 2007: Ethiopia reported that the Mogadishu, Somalia, ceasefire agreed to on March 23 was continuing to hold.

March 23, 2007: Eritrea kicked out the United Nations Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia's (UNMEE) director of the Mine Action Co-ordination Center (MACC). The MACC plays an important role in UNMEE's work. The organizations coordinates land mine identification and removal programs in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. There are a lot of mines, too, laid on both sides of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) which separates the two nations. MACC is also tasked with insuring the safety of UN peacekeepers moving on roads. Why did Eritrea kick the director out? That's unclear. Eritrea claimed the director violated "laws and regulations." Politics is the likely reason. Eritrea maintains that the UN is "biased" in favor of Ethiopia. This looks like another "hassle action" by Eritrea. Since October 2005 Eritrea has limited UN helicopter flights (banned them in some areas).

The Ethiopian government said that its military in Somalia had reached a ceasefire agreement with Somali clan leaders that would end the fighting in Mogadishu.

March 22, 2007: Somali government soldiers and Ethiopian soldiers fought with Islamic radical fighters and members of Somali clan militias in the streets of Mogadishu. At least 21 people died in the two days of fighting. Ethiopian soldiers reportedly received mortar and heavy machinegun fire from an Islamic radical militia. Ethiopia still plans on having its troops out of Somalia later this spring.

March 19, 2007: Eritrea claimed that six Ethiopian soldiers had defected and were seeking asylum in Eritrea. Three of the soldiers were from the Tigray ethnic group. Eritrea believes that Uganda's peacekeeping effort in Somalia would be a "Vietnam" for Uganda, and a "suicide mission." Eritrea supported and likely helped arm the Islamic Courts militia, which Ethiopia attacked and defeated in December 2006 and January 2007.

March 17, 2007: The Ogaden Liberation Front (ONLF) accused Ethiopian soldiers of attacking a village in the Ogaden. The ONLF claimed that on March 15 the soldiers burned the village of Mara'ato in the Qorahay province


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