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Ethiopian troops seen packing in Somalia

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MOGADISHU, Somalia, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Ethiopian troops appeared to be preparing to leave Somalia Wednesday, witnesses said.

However, there were no signs the Ethiopians had actually started to leave Mogadishu, the Shabelle Media Network reported.

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The troops, who have been assisting Somalian government forces in combating rebels in the restive country, were seen packing mattresses and personal belongings, and filling trucks with supplies, the news network reported.

Ethiopia had said previously it would bring its troops home at the end off the year.

There has been concern in some quarters that the Ethiopian withdrawal could lead to a power vacuum. However, others say it could actually facilitate the formation of a new government that would include moderate Islamic forces.

Islamic and nationalist groups now control much of southern Somalia.

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