Ethiopia on Friday played down reports of “thousands” of its troops entering neighboring Somalia as a “routine troop movement”.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Meles Alem told Anadolu Agency that Ethiopia was a major military contributor under the African Union’s AMISOM peacekeeping force targeting al-Shabaab terrorists.
Although it did not claim responsibility, al-Shabaab is held responsible for the Oct. 14 truck bomb in Mogadishu that killed 358 people.
On Thursday, media reports cited residents in Somali border towns as saying large numbers of Ethiopian troops and armor had crossed.
However, Alem described the cross-border operation as routine. “Ethiopia will continue to give similar support to the Somali government,” he added, declining to give further details, including the number of soldiers involved.
Last week, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was in Addis Ababa calling for more troops to support his army in the fight against al-Shabaab.
Washington’s UN envoy Nikki Haley also visited Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo last week.