Sunday, January 3, 2016
MOGADISHU (HOL) – Ethiopia has deployed hundreds of troops and tanks in the port city of Kismayo Sunday as parts of an AU-led effort to flash militants out of the strongholds still under their control in the region, officials said.
Ethiopian forces have officially joined the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia in January last year after an approval by the United Nations Security Council which authorized an additional force of over 4000 troops to bring the number of AMISOM peacekeepers in Somalia to over 22,126 strong force.
Two helicopters that airlifted the troops and their military hardware from Ethiopia touched down at the town’s airport as local officials received their lead commanders. The two sides discussed about a new military strategy aimed at routing Al-Shabab fighters from the areas still under their control, according to officials who attended the meetings.
Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail, the vice president of Jubbaland, a regional administration that controls the Jubba regions said that the troops were deployed in response to public wish to assist the administration to restore peace and stability into the region.
The region faces a deadly guerrilla war by Al-Shabab fighters that continue to launch attacks on AMISOM and local troops, preventing troops from advancing further into rebel-held territory.
Col. Tesfaye, the lead commander of the Ethiopian troops deployed in the town vowed his troops would ‘liberate’ Al-Shabab from the region in coordination with local forces and AU forces from Kenya and Burundi shoring up the local administration in the town.
The development comes after Somalia’s prime minster Omar Abdirashid vowed that his country would oust militants ‘all’ areas still under their control in 2016, a year Somalia has proposed to hold presidential elections.
Despite military pressure, Al-Shabab continues to launch deadly attacks including suicide bombings and assassinations in the country which is recovering from decades of war following the ouster of militant fighters from the Somali capital and surrounding regions.