- Ethiopia has completed full withdrawal of its troops from Somalia after a two year intervention to fight opposition Islamists fighters. The Ethiopian troops completely departed from Mogadishu on 15 January, but pulled back to Baidoa.
The latest phase of the withdrawal began on Sunday night when Ethiopian forces left the provincial town of Baidoa, where Parliament is based.
Reports from the town said all the Ethiopian troops have vacated from the airport of Baidoa, which was the only remaining base of the Ethiopian soldiers in the Bay region.
After the withdrawal of the Ethiopians, local reports said government soldiers and many other newly armed local militias with many battle wagons have been patrolling in the town and halted the movement of the people and traffic in the town saying they are ready to defend any attacks from Al shabab insurgents who recently vowed they will attack the soldiers.
Ethiopia began to withdraw early January when truckloads of their soldiers began to pull out of Mogadishu, after announcing that the mission had failed to achieve its stated purpose of curbing Islamist insurgents.
"The Ethiopians have fulfilled their promise. Their last troops crossed the border this morning," Abdi Haji Gobdon, a government spokesman, said today.
However, the withdrawal of Ethiopia's estimated 3,000-strong force has sparked security concerns for the war torn country.
At least 3,400 African Union (AU) peacekeepers are taking up positions in Somalia vacated by the Ethiopians, amid concerns that Ethiopia's withdrawal could lead to further instability.
Analysts fear that the power vacuum could lead to more fighting while others say it will provide the nation of nine million people an opportunity for peace and usher in a new era for the country.
At least 16,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting, and a million more have been forced from their homes. Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, since when various militias have been battling for control.
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