Somalia’s al-Qaeda-inspired al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for deadly bombings in Uganda, should be “annihilated”, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Thursday.
Bomb attacks on crowds watching the Soccer World Cup final on Sunday in Kampala left more than 70 people dead, the deadliest attacks in the region in 12 years and al-Shabaab’s first such operation outside Somalia.
“There is absolutely no hope of engaging in negotiations with this group. There is no option but to work for their total annihilation,” Meles said in an interview to state-run television.
“These people are enemies of mankind who are ready to massacre innocent people without any consideration,” added Meles, who was in New York to attend talks on climate change with United Nations officials.
Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia to topple an Islamist movement in late 2006. Al-Shabaab, then officially the youth wing of the defeated movement, fought relentlessly against the Ethiopians, who eventually withdrew in early 2009.
Meles also pointed his finger at arch-foe Eritrea, which has been accused of supporting al-Shabaab, saying the attacks “exposed the nature” of the regime in Asmara.
Relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea have been strained since a 1998 to 2000 border war that left more than 80 000 dead.
Uganda said on Thursday it was ready to send more troops to Mogadishu following a decision by a regional bloc to send 2 000 troops needed to bring the embattled African Union mission there to its full authorised strength of 8 100.
Meles, however, told Agence France-Presse earlier this month that he was not going to redeploy his military inside Somalia, despite announcing previously that he would not hesitate to act if Islamist insurgents seized power. — Sapa-AFP