Timeline: Ethiopia and Somalia

A look back at the troubled relations between Ethiopia and Somalia – made worse in recent years by Ethiopia’s deep distrust of Somalia’s Islamist groups.

19 May 2009

Somali eye-witnesses report that Ethiopia troops are digging into positions near the border, following advances by Islamist fighters. Ethiopia denies the claims.

15 January 2009

Last Ethiopian troops leave Mogadishu.

28 November 2008

Ethiopia announces that its troops will leave by the end of the year.

21 November 2008

Ethiopian troops supposed to start pull-out under peace deal but no sign of withdrawal in Mogadishu. At least 15 people killed in Islamist attack on the capital.

15 November 2008

President Abdullahi Yusuf admits that his Ethiopian-backed government only controls parts of Mogadishu and Baidoa.

26 October 2008

Government and moderate Islamists promise to implement a ceasefire and say Ethiopian troops will start to leave.


Islamists stage frequent attacks on Ethiopian and government forces. Hardliners refuse to take part in peace talks unless Ethiopians agree to leave Somalia.

1 January 2007

Somali government troops, supported by Ethiopian troops, seize the southern port of Kismayo – the last remaining stronghold of the UIC

28 December 2006

Ethiopian-backed government forces capture the capital, Mogadishu, hours after Islamist fighters flee the city.

27 December

Ethiopian and Somali government troops take control of Jowhar, a strategic town previously held by the Islamists.

26 December

Forces loyal to the transitional government are reported to have taken control of the town of Burhakaba from the UIC. Other areas of southern and central Somalia are also said to have fallen under heavy assault from Somali and Ethiopian troops. Retreating Islamist militias are attacked by Ethiopian jets for a third day.

25 December

Ethiopian aircraft bomb Mogadishu airport.

24 December

Ethiopia for the first time admits its forces are fighting in Somalia, saying it has launched a “self-defensive” operation against Islamist militiamen. Fighting spreads across a 400km front along the border.

12 December

Islamic courts give Ethiopian troops one week to leave Somalia or face a “major attack”.

8 December

Islamic courts say they have engaged in battle with Ethiopian troops for the first time – south-west of Baidoa.

30 November

Ethiopia’s parliament passes a resolution authorising the government to take all legal and necessary steps against what it terms as any invasion by the UIC.

28 November

Eyewitnesses say Islamist fighters ambushed an Ethiopian convoy near Baidoa, blowing up a truck. The UIC claim some 20 Ethiopians died.

27 November

The Islamic courts say Ethiopian forces shelled the northern town of Bandiradley and it ambushed an Ethiopian convoy near Baidoa

25 October

Ethiopian Prime Minster Meles Zenawi says Ethiopia is “technically at war” with the UIC.

18 September 2006

Somalia’s interim President Abdullahi Yusuf survives an assassination attempt.

21 July

The Islamic court leadership orders a “holy war” against Ethiopians in Somalia.

20 July

A column of Ethiopian trucks, more than 100-strong and including armoured cars, are seen crossing into Somalia. Ethiopia only admits to having military trainers in the country helping the interim government.

June 2006

The Islamic courts take control of the Somalia capital, Mogadishu, from rival warlords and go on to gain territory in much of southern territory.


Long-time Ethiopian ally and warlord, Abdullahi Yusuf becomes Somalia’s interim president making Baidoa his base.


Ethiopian forces defeat Islamist fighters in the Somali town of Luuq.


Somalia descends into civil war between rival clan warlords.


Peace accord signed.

1964 and 1977

Two wars fought over Ethiopia’s Somali-inhabited Ogaden region.




By Prof. Muse Tegegne

Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change & Liberation in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Americas. He has obtained Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva. A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies. He wrote on the problematic of the Horn of Africa extensively. And Lecture at Mobile University..

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