Ethiopia pullout aids comeback by Somalia’s Al-Shabab


The resurgence of Al-Shabab, Somalia’s Islamic extremists allied to al-Qaida, could affect Somalia’s plans to hold elections next month and further destabilize what is already one of the world’s most fragile states, AP reports:

But this month, Ethiopia pulled its forces out of the Hiran region of south-central Somalia. Al-Shabab wasted no time, and within hours its fighters had seized control of the towns and raised their black flags….It is not known how many Ethiopian troops have been pulled out of Somalia, but analysts say they were withdrawn in response to Ethiopia’s need for troops at home to enforce the state of emergency imposed this month to quell months of anti-government protests.

Ethiopia’s government has ruled out holding new nationwide elections to address the grievances behind nearly a year of deadly protests. But the opposition says the changes the government is undertaking are not good enough, VOA reports.

The country’s best-selling magazine is terminating its print edition because the state of emergency the government imposed this month is making regular publication “impossible,” AP adds:

The Addis Standard said Tuesday it has become increasingly difficult to operate during the state of emergency, which has restricted some rights and given security forces the power to detain suspects without court orders. ….The Addis Standard recently published a series of articles criticizing Ethiopia’s government for its handling of the Oromo protests that began in November 2015. The anti-government protests have widened to other regions.

The Committee to Protect Journalists calls Ethiopia one of the world’s 10 “most censored countries.”

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