Ethiopian troops stationed in Somalia to support the country’s transitional government are pulling out of the area.
Officials and eyewitnesses told CNN Tuesday that the forces had left two key bases in the city of Mogadishu.
The soldiers left late Monday, and hundreds of overjoyed residents poured into the abandoned factories-turned-military-base in celebration.
"We are so glad that they have left after two years of their presence in our neighborhood," resident Asha Omar, exclaimed.
Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 to overthrow the Islamic government there and set up a U.N.-backed government. Ethiopia’s effort was disrupted by Islamists, who launched a campaign of guerilla attacks against the troops.
Soldiers from the Islamic Courts Union (one of the opposition groups) almost immediately took over the bases vacated by Ethiopian troops.
Others bid a more fond farewell to the Ethiopian troops at a ceremony organized in their honor.
"I welcome the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia, which was part of the Djibouti peace between my government and the opposition group," said Somalian Premier Nur Hassan Hussein Nur Ade. He is now calling on Somalis to work together to achieve peace in the country.
– Sonya Eskridge
Photo courtesy of Nazret.