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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

Ethiopia, Somalia Boost Security Cooperation

Security forces patrol near a hotel after an attack by al-Shabaab militants in Mogadishu, Somalia (File photo: AFP)

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud stressed that the bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Ethiopia will continue, saying Ethiopia is a "strong strategic partner" in the Horn of Africa. 

Sheikh Mahmoud met outgoing Ethiopian ambassador Abdulfatah Abdullahi Hassan on Thursday, emphasizing that Ethiopia played an essential role in bringing peace and stability to the region. 

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the president thanked Addis Ababa for its support in the anti-terrorism campaign in Somalia.  

Last November, Somalia and Ethiopia concluded a memorandum of understanding in intelligence cooperation.  

Meanwhile, the Somali military is continuing its war against the extremist al-Shabaab movement in various parts of the country.  

Separately, a senior Somali police official said that the death toll in the twin bombings in Hiran has risen to at least 35, including nine members of the same family.  

Security officials and local leaders confirmed that two military bases were targeted in Mahas in the Hiran region in response to the government's offensive against Shabaab militants.  

Mohammad Moallem Adam, commander of a local armed group linked to government forces in Mahas, said that 19 people, including members of the security forces and civilians, were killed in the explosions.  

According to Mahmoud Soleiman, a notable in the area, 52 people were injured, most of whom were taken to Mogadishu for treatment.  

Mahas' police chief Osman Nour said the Shabaab movement targeted civilians after its heavy losses in fighting the army.  

The Shabaab has been waging an insurgency against the government since 2007. It claimed responsibility for the two attacks, saying its fighters detonated explosive devices at military bases in Mahas and attacked another base in Dadan Ad, about 17 kilometers away.  

The al-Qaeda-affiliated movement is fighting the federal government, backed by the international community, after it was pushed out last year of its region by the government forces and allied clans. 

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