Somalia: Puntland President Meets Senior Ethiopian Army Officers, Discuss Cooperation Against Al-Shabaab
Addis Abeba — President of Puntland State of Somalia, Said Abdullahi Deni, and vice president, Ahmed Ilmi Osman Karash, met on Sunday 21 August with high-ranking at the Presidential Palace in Garowe, met high-ranking officials from the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and officials from the Ethiopian Consul in Puntland, according to a report from Puntland media.
“The meeting discussed the cooperation between the two sides in terms of security, dealing with terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab, and how to have a unified plan on how to deal with any factor working against stability and security,” the report said.
According to the Ethiopian Consulate General in Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia, the Consulate General delegation was led by Consul General Dagnachew Yitbarek. It also said Ethiopian Defense delegates were present in the discussion about “security cooperation especially the fight against terrorism.” However, the names of the ENDF senior officers were not mentioned.
In addition to Puntland’s President and vice President, the meeting was also attended by Mohamed Abdirahman Dhabanad, Minister of Internal Affairs and Democratization of Puntland, the Commander of the Deravish Army DPL Major General Yasin Omar Dheere, the Deputy Commander of the Deravish Army and officers of the Presidency.
Meetings in Baidoa and Jubaland
On 04 August, an Ethiopian military delegation led by Major General Tesfaye Ayalew, Head of the ENDF Deployment and Somali region’s Temporary Security Command Post Coordinator met with senior regional officials in Baidoa, the south west state of Somalia, and discussed peace and security issues in the region with state officials and security forces of the South West state of Somalia, in particular on the on coordinated works to destroy Al-Shabaab militants.
On the same day, another discussion was held in the Jubaland state of Somalia between ENDF senior officials and regional officials of Jubaland regarding peace and security situation in the areas bordering Jubaland and Ethiopia.
Led by the Deputy President of Jubaland state, Mohammed Seid, the discussion on the current security issues was attended by Brigadier General Lucas Kuto, Commander of Sector 6, Lieutenant colonel Sintayehu Leta, the 5th Motorized Battalion Deputy Commander for Operations, as well as the Chief of Jubaland State Security, the regional information center officer, senior federal military commanders, and officials from the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS).
Earlier, a military delegation led by Lieutenant General Birhanu Bekele, head of the ENDF military intelligence, representing the Ministry of Defense, went to Somaliland on 02 August to discuss peace and security issues in the region.
The delegation was received by the chief of staff of Somaliland armed forces and other senior army officials at the Hargeisa International Airport, according to the ENDF. The two sides “discussed in detail with the Somaliland President, the Chief of Staff of the armed forces and the Director of the National Security regarding the cooperation between Ethiopia and Somaliland as well as the cooperation on common security and safety issues in the region.”
These meetings follow an earlier visit led by Maj. Gen. Tesfaye Ayalew, in Beledweyne, in the central Somalia. Accompanied by the Somali Regional State Special Forces Commissioner General Mohamed Ahmed and other members of the Defense Forces and Somali Region Special Forces, the visit was aimed at holding military discussions and coordination on stopping the harassment and invasion of the Al-Shabaab militants operating in neighboring Somalia. The delegation also met and consulted with the Somali Defense Army and the security leadership of the Hirshabelle State of Somalia, in south-central Somalia, which is located on the border with Ethiopia to the west, on conditions in which military measures against the militant group can be “strengthened” and “destroyed.”
The delegation hinted that joint operations to be conducted between the Ethiopian national defense forces and the Somali region’s special forces, in cooperation with the Somalia National Army (SNA) “to destroy the Al-Shabaab militants that are active in the area,” according to the Somali regional state communication affairs bureau.
It is to be recalled that Somali region security council admitted on 25 July that military offensives were launched against the militant group, which entered the Afdheer zone of Somali region on 20 July from Aato, in Bakool region of neighboring Somalia bordering Ethiopia’s Somali region, which had “completely destroyed” the terrorist group. ENDF reinforcement were deployed in the area on the same day on 25 July.
Subsequently, the federal government communication service said on 27 July that military measured continued against militants in multiple locations within the Somali region and that the acations were “accompanied by victory.” AS
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