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Ethiopia denies knowledge of rumoured plan to strike inside Somalia

Ethiopia has said it knows nothing about rumours, reported to be rife inside Somalia, that its army is planning to attack the southern Somali port of Merka, held by Hussein Aideed, who is accused by Addis Ababa of arming Ethiopian rebel groups. Ethiopia is also rumoured in Somalia to be planning a raid on alleged Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) training centres in the Qoryoley district of the southern Lower Shabelle region.

A spokesman at the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi told IRIN on Monday he could not comment on the reported plans - traced by AFP to Aideed's militia - because he "knows nothing about it". He added, however, that Ethiopia respected international law and that its forces entered Somalia only in the course of "hot pursuit". "We don't occupy any village or territory; we just follow them [rebels] when we think there is a threat and then withdraw to our positions. We respect the territory of Somalia",
he said.

He also denied any involvement on Ethiopia's part in the planting of landmines inside Kenya, as has recently been alleged in the Kenyan press. "We don't use such terrorist tactics in a neighbouring sovereign state", he said. "OLF can do these things."

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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