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

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent — Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail 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.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More