Ethiopian troops leave Somali town, leaving gap

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A military spokesman in Somalia says that government forces will help to replace Ethiopian troops who vacated a Somali town in recent days.

The pull-out by Ethiopian troops from the town of Baidoa on Sunday and Monday increases the pressure on African Union and Somali forces to fill the vacuum before Islamist militants take over the region.

Col. Ali Aden Houmed, the spokesman of the African Union force in Somalia, said Wednesday that the AU and Somali forces would secure the town.

Ethiopia’s withdrawal raises questions as to how long Ethiopia will continue to deploy troops in western Somalia cities. The Ethiopian government didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

African Union forces primarily from Uganda, Burundi and Kenya are helping the Somali government fight against militants from al-Shabab.

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