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Officials: Ethiopia set to deploy paramilitary troops in Somalia’s Kismayo town

by Judy Maina,

NAIROBI – The Ethiopian government is planning to deploy 4000 Somali-ethnic paramilitary troops in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo to take a more active role in a new offensive against militants which is expected to be launched before the end of this year, officials told Alleastafrica Tuesday.

The plan initiated by the top Ethiopian army commander in Somalia will see the force Lyu Police operating alongside the Kenya backed Jubbaland state, based in Kismayo town.

Created in 2008, The Liyu, a force often offers a more effective response to the rebels than the Ethiopian military. However, rights groups accused the force of committing atrocities during their counterinsurgency activities, with reports of rape, torture and executions of civilians and several clashes with different clans on the region’s borders.

A senior African Union official privy with Ethiopian military in Somalia who spoke to Alleastafrica on condition of anonymity expressed worry over the plan by Ethiopian government to deploy troops without security an authorization by African Union and UN Security Council.

“This would be absolutely a counterproductive approach.” He said during an interview with Alleastafrica in Nairobi.

A spokesman for Somali government could not be reached for comment.

The offensive code named Operation Juba Corridor led by Ethiopian army which is serving under AMISOM’s command aims to further degrading the Al Shabaab by removing them from their strongholds in the Gedo, Bakool and Bay regions in Somalia.

Despite losing a significant group to allied forces, the Islamist militant group al-Shabab which is fighting the African Union force and the UN-backed government in Somalia has stepped up attacks across Somalia in recent months.

©Alleastafrica, all rights reserved

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