Mogadishu (PPM) —  The downing of Kenya aid plane in Somalia  by Ethiopian Defence Forces has drawn criticisms from leading Somali politicians. The Former President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who leads the Forum for National Parties, has raised questions on the legality of Ethiopian troops in Somalia.

“AMISOM has confirmed that a civilian plane carrying medical aid to Berdale, Southwest State of Somalia, was downed by Ethiopian forces who … [are] not [a] part of AMISOM. So, the question arises here is:  How these forces entered our country without a legal mandate from the Parliament?” tweeted Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Ethiopia withdrew its forces from Somalia in 2009 after an agreement between TFG and the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia then led by Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. The  Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a bilateral agreement with the Ethiopian Government to deploy its troops in Somalia. The agreement gives Ethiopia a peacekeeping mandate within AMISOM.

“President Sharif  Sheikh Ahmed knows of the agreement but criticises the incumbent FGS for decisions taken by his political ally, Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud” says Dahir Ali, a reporter in Mogadishu. “The permanent Federal Government has powers to sign bilateral agreements.”

The Unted States, Somali Government’s main backer, views Ethiopia as an ally against the war againt religious extremism in Somalia.

“Back in the mid-2000s, Ethiopia launched its operations against the Islamic Courts Union, and the United States was closely aligned with Ethiopia as an important economic and security partner. Many assessed that this unleashed an even more powerful and more violent group, the al-Shabaab elements, the threat of which we’re still trying to address in Somalia today” US Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto said in an interview CTC Sentinel had had with the Ambassador in February.

© Puntland Post Monthly, 2020