“Ethiopian soldiers were accused of committing a wide range of atrocities, including firing mortars on civilian hospitals, press institutions, and houses, and rape, theft, kidnapping, and murder of Somali civilians,” according to a 2014 study published by the U.S. Army’s Joint Special Operations University.
But in 2014, the Ethiopians formally joined the African force and returned to Somalia. Today, there’s nearly 4,400 of Addis Ababa’s soldiers in the country—part of the 22,126-strong A.U. contingent.
Somalis still widely loathe the Ethiopians, but the troops are under A.U. command—and Somalia is now more stable than it has been in years.
Ethiopia has avoided a large-scale Al Shabaab attack, such as the 2013 siege on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairbobi, Kenya. Sixty-seven people died in the assault.
But this has a lot to do with Ethiopia aggressively policing its border. One factor that’s helped is that the terror group doesn’t exert much influence near the border. Instead, its territory directly abuts against Kenya.
Politicians and generals around the world often argue that bigger budgets and military effectiveness have a direct correlation — like a formula that shows an army getting tougher the more money you pour into it.
But a bloated budget can lead to a military being worse off—if a country squanders the money and spends it on the wrong things.
“In emphasizing troop training and modern, domestically produced, equipment, [Ethiopia] has managed to keep its military expenditures low, its armed forces well prepared, and its territory relatively safe from attack,” OE Watch stated.