Somalia: Fresh Troops Deployed to Gedo amid Escalating Tensions

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Hundreds of Somali troops, who completed training in Eritrea, have been deployed to Gedo as tension continues to simmer over who should control the region with only a few weeks to go until the country’s presidential election.

Several military planes landed at an airport in the town of Dolow along Somalia’s border with Ethiopia carrying hundreds of troops who had completed training in Eritrea.

Federal government officials in Dolow have welcomed the troops in a ceremony held in the town and have not immediately commented on the motive behind their deployment.

The deployment comes as relations between Somalia and Kenya are at their lowest point after the government of Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo accused Kenyan military of arming rebel militias to seize its military bases in cross-border attacks and consequently, ordered deployment of fresh troops along the border between the two countries.

Jubaland State, whose administration in Gedo had been removed through use of military force by the government, said on Saturday that Somali federal authorities established guerillas in Gedo and were escalating tensions in the region.

The regional state described Somali federal government’s accusations, that Kenya was arming rebel militias, as attempts aimed to deflect attention from deployment of fresh troops to Gedo by the Somali army.

Over the past few weeks, there were reports that Somalia’s current administration was planning to deploy thousands of troops to Jubaland regional state to unseat the Kenyan-backed administration, a move Kenya deems a threat to its own interests.

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