Recent reports that Ethiopian-backed militias have entered Somalia to support the transitional government add to the volatile situation in the country, says a Somali specialist for the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Matt Bryden, the acting Horn of Africa director for the International Crisis Group’s office in Nairobi, Kenya, said the situation in Somalia is tense despite efforts to create a transitional government.
“The situation on the ground right now is as tense as it has been for a number of years. It’s very dangerous now,” Mr. Bryden said told VOA.
The Ethiopian-backed transitional government, led by President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, was formed in Nairobi last year but has failed to unify the country. Mr. Abdullahi moved the capital to the town of Jowhar, angering members of his own government who have demanded a return to the traditional capital of Mogadishu.
Mr. Abdullahi has called for the international community to send forces to protect his government.
Last week there were reports that militiamen trained by the Ethiopian army had arrived in Jowhar to help defend the new government. The president has denied those reports, but Mr. Bryden said there is little doubt about the arrival of militiamen from Ethiopia and their presence heightens the risk of fighting within Somalia.
Mr. Bryden said a “vigorous” international effort is needed to improve the situation in Somalia, but that attempts to bridge differences between Somalia’s powerful warlords and the transitional government have so far failed.