Amidst rampant violence in Somalia, nine government soldiers escape and voluntarily surrender to the Union of Islamic Courts fighters.
The defectors, eight Somali soldiers and one Ethiopian officer, escaped from their bases in Mogadishu and handed over their weapons to the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC) fighters, Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported Saturday.
The Ethiopian officer said, I was sent to kill innocent civilians but that is not something good to do for my country. He stated that he would never return to Ethiopia and wanted to convert to Islam saying that his government was colonizing the Ethiopian people.
Despite Mogadishu and Addis Ababa denial of these incidents, defections are becoming more commonplace in Somalia as tensions escalate between the government and the Islamic movement, UIC.
The UIC has been trying to reestablish order in the country after it was ousted by the current Transitional Federal Government backed by Ethiopia and the US in 2007.
Meanwhile, in northern Mogadishu an explosion has killed one student and seriously injured four other people near the Ramadan and Lafweyn hotels.
Fighting in the Horn of Africa nation has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and displaced nearly a million in a humanitarian crisis which already has to contend with drought, spiraling food prices and an uncontrollable inflation.