INTERNATIONAL

Anti-terror fight: Obama praises Ethiopia

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday praised key African ally Ethiopia for its fight against al-Shabab militants in Somalia, but also challenged Addis Ababa on its democratic record.

Mr. Obama is on the first-ever trip by a U.S. President to Africa’s second most populous nation, a close strategic partner for Washington credited for beating back the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists but a country also much criticised for its rights record.

“Part of the reasons we’ve seen this shrinkage of Shabab in East Africa is that we’ve had our regional teams,” Mr. Obama said, referring to African Union and Somali government troops.

The Shabab has in recent days lost two of its key strongholds following a major offensive by AU troops — with Ethiopian troops and their local allies credited with doing much of the fighting. While the United States does not have boots on the ground, it carries out frequent drone strikes against Shabab leaders. — AFP

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