Ethiopia troops to stay longer in Somalia

Ethiopia plans to keep its troops in Somalia until the country ratifies a constitution and sets up an elected government.

This is Ethiopia's second intervention in Somalia since 2006, according to Bloomberg. Its forces withdrew in January 2009 after pushing the Islamic Courts Union out of Mogadishu and later getting involved in a guerrilla war with Islamic militants. Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government is set to hold elections and finish its interim rule by August 20.

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"Until the constituent assembly will ratify the constitution, and thereby the establishment of a new democratic and constitutional government will be ensured, Ethiopian forces will remain there," State Communications Minister Shimeles Kemal said to Bloomberg.

Ethiopian officials said troops will only be deployed for a brief period to fight Islamist militants who are fighting Ugandan and Burundian troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as Kenyan forces in the south, reported Reuters.

"It (Ethiopia) will remain (in Somalia) until the Transitional Government (of Somalia) has adequately organized itself to fend off any attack from hostile forces," Kemal told reporters, according to Reuters.

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Last June, Somalia's still-feuding leaders agreed to extend the time of its transitional government for a year rather than hold elections, reported, Reuters. The request came from Uganda, which has peacekeepers stationed there.

According to Bloomberg, Somalia has had no effective central government since rebels toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.