Ethiopia Says Troops Killed 71 Islamists in Somalia
By VOA News
04 July 2008
Ethiopia says its forces have killed 71 Islamist fighters and leaders in Somalia in a joint operation with the Somali government.
State media Friday say the joint operation was launched June 29 to stop what it called a "planned terrorist offensive" in the Meteban and Gura'el areas.
The reports say 13 of those killed were leaders of Somalia's Islamic Courts Union or the al-Shabab militant group. They say one of those killed was a Canadian colonel whose name is on a list of international terrorists.
Reuters news agency quotes Sheikh Abdirahim Issa Adow, an Islamist spokesman, as saying only seven fighters were killed and nine others wounded in the clashes. The spokesman also denied the insurgents had a Canadian colonel in their ranks.
Ethiopian troops entered Somalia two years ago to help the interim government fight an Islamist movement that was threatening to take over the country.
Fighting since then has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced more than a million others.
Somalia has been continuously torn by conflict since the fall of the last stable government in 1991.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.
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