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Ethiopia says no plans to withdraw troops from Somalia
by Staff Writers
Addis Ababa (AFP) Oct 04, 2013

Mali arrests dozens after disgruntled soldiers' protest
Bamako (AFP) Oct 05, 2013 - Around 30 Malian soldiers suspected of involvement in protests that left one wounded earlier this week have been arrested and turned over to paramilitary police, an army spokesman told AFP on Friday.

On Monday, dozens of disgruntled soldiers involved in the 2012 coup had fired guns in the air at a protest, wounding and taking hostage a close aide of last year's mutiny leader Amadou Sanogo, according to military sources.

The soldiers, based in the garrison town of Kati, near the capital Bamako, were unhappy at not having been promoted alongside colleagues also involved in ousting the president in March last year.

On Friday, army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Souleymane Maiga said around 30 soldiers were arrested in an operation to "eradicate without violence those elements implicated in the Kati incidents".

"They violated state security and are behind the Kati uprising," he said.

Among those detained are two members of the former military junta, captain Amadou Konare and colonel Youssouf Traore, said Maiga.

Sanogo led a group of fellow mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22 last year, upending what had been considered one of west Africa's flagship democracies.

The mutiny precipitated the fall of northern Mali to Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda but a military intervention by French and African troops in January chased the rebels from the region's main cities.

Mali was governed by a transitional administration following the coup until elections saw Ibrahim Boubacar Keita sworn in as the new president in September.

Since August, several authors of the coup or their relatives have been handed promotions, including Sanogo who was elevated from captain to lieutenant-general and lives and works in Kati.

Ethiopia will not withdraw its troops from Somalia in the wake of the deadly attacks in Kenya, the Prime Minister said Friday.

"There is no reason we are withdrawing at this time, we will fight al Shebab to the maximum possible," Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Deslaegn told reporters.

Al Qaeda-linked Shebab extremists claimed responsibility for the attack in an upscale shopping centre in Nairobi last month that left at least 67 people dead.

Hailemariam said Shebab militants pose a threat to the region and that Ethiopia would support African Union (AU) and Somali troops in the country as long as the threat persists.

"Our security forces are also going to continue with their support to AMISOM and the Somali defence force and they will stay there until we are assured that al Shebab is not a threat to the region," he said, referring to the AU mission in Somalia.

Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in November 2011 to help support the country battle Shebab militants.

Hailemariam did not say how many Ethiopian troops are in Somalia, only that the number is "quite enough".

In July, Ethiopia announced it was starting to pull its troops out of some parts of Somalia, where it has secured key towns.

Ethiopia is a key regional ally for conflict-wracked Somalia. In September, Ethiopia mediated negotiations between Somalia's federal government and the semi-autonomous state Jubaland, which was folded into the Somali federal system.

The 17,700-strong AMISOM force has clocked major successes against Shebab in recent months and controls parts of southern Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu and the key port city Kismayo.

However, key Shebab strongholds remain, including rural southern and central Somalia, while another faction has dug into remote and rugged mountains in the northern, semi-autonomous Puntland region.

Somalia has been ravaged by conflict since 1991 but a new UN-backed government took power last year, ending eight years of transitional rule by a corruption-riddled administration.


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