Ethiopian authorities have claimed to have killed about 85 suspected members of the Somali terrorist group Al Shabaab in a new clash near the common border, days after the Al Qaeda-linked group launched its first attack on Ethiopia.
Authorities in the Somali region have indicated that the clashes have taken place in El Qudun village, located in Ferfer district, before adding that several suspects have been arrested following the fighting, Ethiopian television channel EBC has picked up.
Thus, the head of the Ethiopian Army Deployment Unit and coordinator of the temporary command in Somali, Tesfaye Ayalew, has stressed that measures are being carried out to “eliminate members of Al Shabaab” who “were cut off from their unit when they tried to infiltrate into eastern Ethiopia.”
Tesfaye has pointed out that the group attempted to attack five different points on the border — those of Yid, Aato, El Barde, Qaqasho and Ferfer — before adding that this offensive was repelled by the security forces, as reported by the daily ‘Addis Standard’.
The clashes have taken place about a week after Al Shabaab launched an offensive against the Somali region, briefly seizing control of two towns in the Ato area.
In the aftermath, Al Shabaab claimed through its propaganda channels that the fighting had resulted in the death of 87 Somali military personnel and released images of the corpses of several of them, while Ethiopia put the number of dead terrorists at 100.
Attacks by Al Shabaab against areas near the border with Ethiopia are infrequent due to the strong presence of Ethiopian security forces in the area. Also, Addis Ababa is part of the deployment of the African Union Transitional Mission (ATMIS), which replaced the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) this year after 15 years of operations against jihadism.
Somalia is facing an increase in the number of attacks by the Islamist militia Al Shabaab, both in the capital, Mogadishu, and in other areas in the south of the country, which has led the new president, Hassan Shaykh Mohamud, to promise to focus his efforts on security during the first 100 days of his mandate.