Reports from southern Somalia say that many people have fled villages in the Lower Shabelle region following attacks by Ethiopian troops and local Rahanwein militiamen.

The allied forces captured two villages yesterday, and merchants accused Ethiopian forces of looting their goods.

Ethiopia was reported to have agreed to withdraw its forces from Somalia late last year under a deal with the Somali warlord, Hussein Aideed, who expelled some Ethiopian Islamic rebels from Somalia in return.


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