Dawn ambush rocks Ethiopia’s peace mission in Somalia

Hudur (Caasimada Online) – Al-Shabab militants launched an attack on two Ethiopian military convoys in Somalia’s southwestern Bakool region early on Sunday, eliciting a potent counter-response from the troops.

These militants ambushed two convoys – one weaving its way from Yeed to Wajid and another traversing from El Barde to Huddur. 

Notably, the Ethiopian military maintains strongholds in both Wajid and Huddur. 

Local Somali forces stood shoulder to shoulder with the convoy from El Barde to Huddur, indicating a collaborative approach to the region’s security.

Omar Abdullahi Mohamud, the mayor of Huddur, recounted the intense events, saying, “The troops were assaulted with an explosion by anti-peace factions. 

Despite the sudden attack, the troops effectively repulsed, restoring calm.” He further asserted that Al-Shabab suffered significant losses, with approximately 50 militants laid low.

Yet, an unnamed senior Somali regional official provided a more nuanced perspective, identifying the most intense attack on the convoy that escorted supplies to Wajid. 

“On nearing Wajid,” he detailed, “the convoy met a chilling ambush by Al-Shabab, resulting in the decimation of two vehicles.”

Clashing claims

With Al-Shabab taking responsibility and boasting the elimination of 167 Ethiopian soldiers, the authenticity of such claims remains in dispute. 

Ethiopia’s ambassador to Somalia, Mukhtar Mohamed Ware, dismissed these assertions as mere “propaganda.” 

He fervently stated, “Our army is adept and organized, countering Al-Shabab with unmatched intensity. 

Labeling Ethiopian forces as ‘crusaders’ is a fallacious narrative; we’re in Somalia under international consensus to buttress Somalia’s peace endeavors.”

The broader picture

Apart from this attack, Ethiopia’s extensive presence in Somalia, encompassing the African Union Transition Mission (ATMIS), underscores the nation’s commitment to regional stability. 

Interestingly, the troops in the recent ambush were not affiliated with ATMIS. A security source candidly expressed, “While the ambush was disastrous, Al-Shabab’s casualty numbers seem inflated.”

In parallel developments, Somali officials proudly announced the recapture of the pivotal town of Ba’adweyne and three adjacent villages. 

With Al-Shabab retreating after a skirmish, Somali forces, bolstered by local fighters, are advancing toward the strategic town of Amaara.

Simultaneously, the Somali government executed an operation against Al-Shabab militants near Ali Foldhere, with “international partners” lending their strength primarily through precision airstrikes.