The government of Somalia, backed by the Ethiopian Army and the US, has been struggling for two years to ward off a growing Islamist insurgency, factions of which are said to be allied with Al Qaeda. On June 9, the government of Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein tried to broker a peace accord with some of the hardline Islamist groups, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The June 9 accord gave all sides a month to start enforcing a ceasefire.
But it was quickly rejected by Islamist hardliners including the Shebab group, which insists that the Ethiopian forces should withdraw before any talks start.
Ethiopia currently has thousands of troops stationed in Somalia to assist Mr. Hussein's transitional government. Their continued presence has become a bone of contention between hard-liners and the government. Although he offered no timetable for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops, Hussein told AFP that he is willing to engage with Shebab – which is said to be linked to Al Qaeda – if that will ensure peace.