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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid