FACTBOX-Foreign military incursions in Somalia

                                                                                                                                                            Ethiopia is standing by to bolster forces in Somalia to stretch Islamist rebels targeted by a Kenyan military incursion. Here are details of foreign interventions in the anarchic Horn of Africa country over the last 20 years.

* 1990s

August 1992 – The first contingent of U.N. troops under the United Nations Operation in Somalia, or UNOSOM, arrives to monitor a ceasefire in Mogadishu after the fall of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre, overthrown the year before. In December the United Nations authorises member states to form the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) led by the United States to deploy troops to deliver humanitarian aid. UNITAF sends in some 37,000 troops.

May 1993 – A second U.N. force, UNOSOM II, takes over from U.S. troops. On June 5, 23 Pakistani soldiers arekilled in fighting with warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed’s forces. The U.N. mission suffers a fatal blow soon afterwards when 18 U.S. Rangers sent to hunt down Aideed are killed in Mogadishu.

- Remaining U.S. forces withdraw and UNOSOM II follows in March 1995, leaving local warlords to fight on. Some 150 U.N. personnel were killed during the mission.

* 2006-2010

June 2006 – Islamist militia loyal to the Somalia Islamic Courts Council seize Mogadishu after defeating U.S.-backed warlords.

December 2006 – With tacit U.S. approval, Somalia’s neighbour Ethiopia sends in troops to defend the interim government. The Ethiopian force advances rapidly, taking Mogadishu and driving the Islamists to Somalia’s southern tip.

Early 2007 – AMISOM, an African Union peacekeeping force, deploys, comprised of Ugandan and Burundian troops, with main responsibility for keeping the interim authority, the Transitional Federal Government, in power.

January 2009 – Ethiopian troops withdraw, leaving Islamist al Shabaab rebels in control of much of southern and central Somalia.

* 2011

Mid-October – Kenya deploys troops into Somalia to pursue rebels it blames for a series of kidnappings on Kenyan soil and frequent assaults on its security forces in its North Eastern border province. Al Shabaab had pulled most of its fighters out of Mogadishu in August, resorting to suicide attacks and guerrilla-style tactics against AMISOM troops.

October 29 – Kenya’s military chief says it will end its Somalia campaign only when it is satisfied it has stripped al Shabaab of its capacity to attack across the border. Al Shabaab, intent on imposing a strict version of Islamic sharia law in Somalia, vows revenge against Kenya and to bring the “flames of war” to its neighbour.

Nov. 21 — Residents say al Shabaab has begun withdrawing from at least two rebel enclaves in central Somalia after an incursion by hundreds of Ethiopian troops.

- Addis Ababa denies that its forces have entered Somalia, but local residents and elders say scores of Ethiopian vehicles ferrying troops and weapons have moved at least 80 km (50 miles) into the country. (Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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