Ethiopia-Somalia Rebel Combat Intensifies, World Leaders Discuss Somalia at London Conference

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on February 23 2012 11:38 AM
somalia
Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Abdiweli attends a news conference after meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the Commision's Headquarters in Brussels February 21, 2012. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet

Two major explosions shook the key Somalia city of Baidoa, only hours after Ethiopian troops and pro-government forces there helped wrest the Baidoa from the hands of Al-Qaeda backed insurgents, according to AFP. The intensifying conflict falls on the same day world leaders gather in London for a conference to address diplomatic response to decades of instability in Somalia, according to Voice of America.

Morale was high in London as British Prime Minister David Cameron, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and representatives of 40 other nations Cameron said he was absolutely convinced Somalia has the potential to resolve its conflicts and move forward.

 Wednesday, Ehtiopian soldiers and Somali government troops advanced on Baidoa as insurgents fled from several key areas. Baidoa, the nation's third largest city, was overtaken by pro-government supporters, as Ethiopian troops swept in with little resistance to support a weak government Somali force and oust Al-Shabab from the area.

Shabab, the insurgent organization there, took credit for the attacks and said the organization is inflicting heavy losses on the pro-government forces.  Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab directly claimed responsibility, but casualties could not be verified.

In London, Somalia Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali warned of grave global consequences were intervention for the nation not to come.

The problems of Somalia, Ali said, such as piracy, terrorism, anarchy, refugees, famine, droughts - are not unique to Somalia and will not be confined to the borders of Somalia. So we have to all hope to contribute and succeed.

Somalia has suffered intense civil war since its last stable government's collapse in 1991. Most recently, the Western-backed transition government has struggled to maintain order during an expansive famine. A current international plan places a new government within six months, though other players suggest its legitimacy will be contested if a new constitution is not formed.

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