The Illegality of Ethiopian Forces’ Presence in Somalia

By  A. S. Gurase

The presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia as a part of AMISOM divides Somalis. To be fair Ethiopia did not ask for to contribute troops AMISOM. In 2009 Ethiopian troops withdrew from Somalia after an agreement signed by the former Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and Alliance for Reliberaration of Somalia. The Agreement stipulated that Ethiopian forces will withdraw from Somalia and the ARS will  recognise TFG as the legitimate authority in the country.

Ethiopian troops’ presence in Somalia is illegal

In 2014 President Hassan Sheikh  Mohamed signed a bilateral agreement to deploy Ethiopian troops as a part of AMISOM. The Somali Parliament did discuss the proposal. President Mohamud  was in the process of facilitating the creation of two Federal Member States  – Galmudug and Hirshabelle. Having falling out with Kenya over the formation of Jubaland State, President Mohamud opted for the policy to recalibrate relations his administration had with Ethiopia, a country that shared common strategic  goals with Kenya to defeat Al-shabaab.

Neither the parliament nor politicians who participated in negotiations between TFG and ARS raised concerns about the decision to deploy Ethiopian troops as a part of AMISOM. Both President Sharif Ahmed and Abdirahman Abdishakur, the leader of Wadajir Party, had the experience and the credibility  to  take President Mohamud to task for political expedience.

“President Farmaajo took a leaf from the book of his predecessor” says  Hassan Mohamud, a freelance journalist in Garowe. “There is a risk that the precedent set by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to rescind past peace agreements  to achieve short-term personal and political goals can  keep Somalia in perpetual dependency upon AMISOM.”

In 2016 Harun Maruf, the VOA Somali Service broadcaster,  illuminated how Ethiopian troops got deployed in Somalia. ” Many Ethiopian troops in Hiran, Bakool and Galgudud regions are not mandated by AU but operate under bilateral defence agreement [with] Somalia” tweeted Maruf.

The saga of not subjecting deployment of Ethiopian troops to wider consultations  has opened Somalis’ eyes to mendacity of   the Federal Government leaders.

Deployed in Somalia on the basis of an agreement between the two countries, the Ethiopian troops take orders from Villa Somalia. Since the visit of Abiy Ahmed to Somalia in 2018 to promote his flagship Horn Economic Integration initiative,  President  Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed deepened the relations with his Ethiopian counterpart to demonstrate  commitment to US-driven integration agenda although Somalia is still in fragile status and wholly dependent on AMISOM to function in the capital and neighbouring regions.

© Puntland Post Monthly, 2020