MOGADISHU, Somalia – Residents of central Somalia said Thursday that hundreds of Ethiopian troops were patrolling the town of Baidoa in armored vehicles, less than a day after Islamic militants moved near the base of the weak, U.N.-backed government.
A spokesman for the Ethiopian government had said that his country would protect Somalia’s transitional government from attack by Islamic militias.
Numerous witnesses told The Associated Press that Ethiopian soldiers arrived Thursday afternoon in Baidoa, 240 kilometers (150 miles) northwest of Mogadishu.
The Ethiopian troops have set up a camp near the transitional president’s home in Baidoa, residents said.
“People were prevented from walking on the road that leads to the building,” one resident said on the condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisals.
Ethiopian and government officials were not immediately available for comment.