News / Africa

Ethiopian, Somali Forces Set to Advance on Al-Shabab Stronghold

Ethiopian, Somali Forces Set to Advance on Al-Shabab Stronghold
Ethiopian, Somali Forces Set to Advance on Al-Shabab Stronghold

In Somalia, government forces backed by Ethiopian troops are set to advance on the Bay and Bakool regions, key strongholds of the militant group al-Shabab.  The Islamist group has vowed to resist any foreign intervention.

In Somalia's Gedo region, which borders Ethiopia, Somali government forces have played a defensive role for the last eight months.  But with the reported arrival of more Ethiopian troops, a Somali lawmaker tells VOA the forces are ready to secure the region and move forward to capture neighboring Bay and Bakool.

A Somali military official in the Gedo region, Diyed Abdi, says Somali forces hope to reduce the amount of territory al-Shabab controls.

“There is an ongoing operation to back up Transitional Federal Government plans to take control of other regions," he said.  "We would like to capture other town in Gedo and other regions with the help of Kenya, Ethiopia and AMISOM forces who are based in Mogadishu.”

A local official in the Gedo region town of Luq told VOA he could neither confirm nor deny the presence of Ethiopian troops in his town.  But witnesses said the troops arrived this week and remained in the Luq area as of Tuesday.

This latest development is not something new to Somalis; Ethiopian forces have often crossed into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab and militias said to be allied to an Ethiopian rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaida, is fighting to overthrow Somalia's internationally recognized government.  The Islamist group controls much of southern and central Somalia, though it has lost ground in recent months.  AU and Somali forces took full control of Mogadishu earlier this month, while Ethiopian forces recently took control of Beledweyne in Somalia's Hiraan region.

Even though Somali forces have received enormous military support from neighboring countries the TFG struggles to regularly pay its troops.  Abdi said they haven’t received salary for six months but they will continue to fight without any condition.

“Our expectations are high, even though the TFG have not paid us, we are also people who are patriotic, and we want to fight for our land and our flag which they have replaced with the black flag of al-Qaida,” he said.

Al-Shabab rose to power by fighting government forces and pro-government Ethiopian troops who invaded Somalia in 2006.  The group considers any outside intervention as a threat to Somali sovereignty.

On Monday the militants permanently banned the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), one of the few international aid agencies operating in areas under its control.  It accused the aid agency of providing contaminated food and betraying the trust of the population.

Earlier this month, ICRC temporarily suspended its operations in central and southern Somalia, saying local authorities had blocked deliveries of food and seeds.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs