Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until ‘AU takeover’

Updated 29 November 2012
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Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until ‘AU takeover’

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian troops will remain in Somalia until African Union forces fighting rebels can take over, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said yesterday, as he met with his Somali counterpart.
“We are waiting for AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) force to come and replace us, and until we get that assurance then we will be waiting there,” he told reporters. Hailemariam, speaking alongside newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on his first official visit to the Ethiopian capital, gave no timeline for a pull out of troops.
Mohamud said that the Shabab is “literally defeated” — although many experts say it remains a potent threat — and also warned foreign fighters with the extremists to leave Somalia.
“We have no relationship, and we do not intend to have one, with the foreign fighters in Somalia,” Mohamud said. “The only option for them is to leave the country.”
Ethiopian troops and tanks invaded Somalia in November 2011 to attack Al-Qaeda linked Shabab insurgents, capturing key towns including Baidoa.
At the same time, anti-Shabab Somali forces and a 17,000-strong AU force have been also battling the rebels, and are seeking to link up with areas held by Ethiopia.
Addis Ababa — long seen as a traditional enemy of Somalia — is a controversial presence in Somalia. Ethiopia entered Somalia in a 2006 US-backed invasion, but was driven out three years later by a bitter insurgency.
War-torn Somalia has been in chaos since the fall of President Siad Barre in 1991.


At least three dead in multiple shooting in Utrecht, police hunting Turkish-born man

Updated 6 min 1 sec ago
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At least three dead in multiple shooting in Utrecht, police hunting Turkish-born man

  • Police are not ruling out terrorism as a possible motive
  • ‘Threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province’

DUBAI: At least three people have been killed and nine other injured in a shooting incident in Utrecht, in The Netherlands on Monday morning.

Dutch security forces were hunting for a 37-year-old Turkish man in connection with the incident, in what authorities said appeared to be a terrorist attack. The city's mayor confirmed the death of three people on Monday afternoon.

"At this stage, we can confirm three deaths and nine wounded, three of them seriously," Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said in a video statement on Twitter.

"We are working on the principle that it was a terrorist attack," he added.

Dozens of armed police plus canine units later surrounded a building a few hundred metres away, an AFP reporter at the scene said, but it was not clear if the gunman was inside.

Police said they believed a red Renault Clio had been carjacked around the time of the shooting and had been found abandoned later.

The Utrecht municipality said it advised "everyone to stay indoors until more is known, new incidents are not excluded," but this was withdrawn at around 4:30pm local time. The local hospital said it had set up a crisis centre. Tram traffic in the area was halted.

Authorities raised the terrorism threat to its highest level in Utrecht province, schools were told to shut their doors and paramilitary police increased security at airports and other vital infrastructure, and also at mosques.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte convened crisis talks, saying he was deeply concerned about the incident.

Utrecht Police tweeted an image of a man named Gökmen Tanis, asking people for information on him in connection with the incident — but warned members of the public not to approach him.

The main counterterrorism unit in The Netherlands, the  National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV), told the Dutch public broadcaster that the incident had all the characteristics of a terrorist attack.

Counter-terrorism forces have surrounded a building where the gunman may be located, local broadcaster NOS News reported.

There was gunfire at several locations in the city, the Dutch national counter-terrorism chief said.

“Shooting took place this morning at several locations in Utrecht,” Dutch anti-terror coordinator Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg told a news conference in The Hague. “A major police operation is under way to arrest the gunman.”

Aalbersberg said in a statement that the “threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province,” referring to the highest level. 

“The culprit is still on the run. A terror motive cannot be excluded,” he said in a Twitter message. He called on citizens to closely follow the indications of the local police. 

Police spokesman Bernhard Jens did not exclude more people might be involved. 

“We want to try to catch the person responsible as soon as possible,” Jens said.

A hotline to address queries about the situation. The Netherlands has one of the strictest gun laws and ownership is limited to law enforcement, hunters and target shooters.

Local media reports have said counter-terrorism police were seen at the scene.

“Shooting incident... Several injured people reported. Assistance started,” the Utrecht police Twitter account said. “It is a shooting incident in a tram. Several trauma helicopters have been deployed to provide help.”

The 24 Oktoberplein is a busy Utrecht traffic junction, with a tram stop. Tram traffic was temporarily stopped due to the incident, but the trams are currently running again between Zuilenstein, Nieuwegein and IJsselstein.

(With AFP and Reuters)