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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
Somalia
Ethiopian troops pull out of strategic crossroad in central Somalia

BELETWEIN, Somalia Feb 14 (Garowe Online) - Ethiopian troops have pulled out a strategic crossroad in central Somalia, after spending two weeks inside the international boundaries of Somalia, Radio Garowe reports.

The troops backed by armed trucks withdrew from their position at Kala-Beyr crossroads in the central Hiran region. The crossroads connects Somalia's central and northern regions to Ethiopia's Somali-inhabited Ogaden region.

Commercial truck drivers and civilian passersby had complained for days about the Ethiopian garrison that interrupted the ordinary flow of goods around Kala-Beyr crossroads.

Some people had reported that the Ethiopian soldiers were collecting extortion money from every vehicle to pass through, creating a long line of traffic.

The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) administration in Beletwein, capital of Hiran region, had issues threats to attack the Ethiopian garrison but none of those threats materialized.

Islamist hardliners in Mogadishu had used the presence of Ethiopian troops at Kala-Beyr crossroads to justify war against Somalia's newly elected President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

The Ethiopian government has denied re-sending troops back to Somalia after pulling out all troops in January.

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READ: Ethiopian troops occupy strategic crossroad in central Somalia

Source: Garowe Online

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