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Ethiopia says “it hasn’t been formally notified of troop withdrawal from Somalia”



By: Hassan Yarrow

MOGADISHU—The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that it has not received any formal communication from the Somali government regarding the withdrawal of Ethiopian peacekeeping troops from Somalia.

This comes in response to a recent statements by Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali that Ethiopian forces would be withdrawn.

Nabiu Tedla, the ministry’s spokesperson, noted that Ethiopia is unaware of any such decision and has not been officially notified by Somali authorities.

“We have not received any formal diplomatic communication from Somalia on this matter,” Tedla said.

He added that discussions about the forces set to replace the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) have not yet commenced, and the initial ATMIS deployment is still ongoing.

Currently, at least 8,000 Ethiopian soldiers are stationed in Somalia under a bilateral agreement between the two countries and the African Union’s temporary ATMIS mission.

However, the Somali government, angered by the maritime agreement between Ethiopia and the self-declared republic of Somaliland, has requested that Ethiopian troops depart by the end of 2024.

Tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia have escalated since Ethiopia signed a deal with Somaliland on January 1, 2024.

This agreement, which grants Ethiopia access to the sea and allows for the establishment of an Ethiopian military base in Somaliland, was viewed by Somalia as a violation of its territorial sovereignty.

In response, Somalia expelled Ethiopia’s ambassador in April and closed Ethiopian consulates in Somaliland and Puntland.

Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, stated that Ethiopia’s actions have undermined its standing as an ally in regional peace and security efforts.

He confirmed that new peacekeeping troops from Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi will replace ATMIS forces after December 2024, and Ethiopian personnel will not be part of the new mission.

However, officials from Somalia’s Southwest and Jubaland regions oppose the federal government’s plan to withdraw Ethiopian troops, fearing it could empower the al-Shabab militant group.

Jubaland Deputy President Mohamud Sayid Aden and Southwest State Security Minister Hassan Abdulkadir Mohamed have both expressed a preference for retaining the Ethiopian military presence.

The African Union and Somali authorities are currently negotiating the details of the new peacekeeping mission, expected to be announced by the end of June.

Somalia has requested that Ethiopia not be included among the troop-contributing countries due to the ongoing political tensions between the two neighbors.


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