BAIDOA, Somalia – Thousands of Islamic militants have surrounded the only town Somalia’s internationally recognized government controls, the prime minister said Tuesday as a top Islamic official promised to attack within a week unless troops from neighboring Ethiopia leave.
The surrounded town of Baidoa was teeming with soldiers Tuesday, with troops in new uniforms patrolling the city and manning checkpoints.
“I believe that war is inevitable because elements within the so-called Islamic Courts are against peace and stability in the country,” Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi told the Associated Press in his office in Baidoa.
Ethiopian troops are believed to be based around Baidoa, but were not immediately identifiable.
Ethiopia acknowledges sending military advisers to help Gedi’s internationally recognized government but denies sending a fighting force. A confidential U.N. report obtained by the AP in October said up to 8,000 Ethiopian troops were in Somalia or along the border backing the government.