Somalia: At Least 74 Dead in Somali/Ethiopian Clash With Al-Shebab

Photo: Stuart Price/UN
Four suspected members of Al Shabaab, the Islamic insurgent group, were captured (file photo).

At least 74 people were killed in fighting near Somalia's border with Ethiopia on Sunday, according to officials and witnesses. Somali and Ethiopian forces attacked the bases of Al-Shebab islamists near the south-western town of Ato.

Local people say that this is the worst fighting they have seen in the region and it is unclear how many were killed but the government claimed victory in this gruesome battle.

Hassan Ibrahim Lugbur, the deputy governor of Bakool region where Ato locates told RFI by phone that over 74 Al-Shebab fighters were killed in the battle.

"Somali forces along with those of the Ethiopian attacked bases manned by Al-Shebab fighters near Ato killing 74 Al-Shebab militia," Lugbur said.

He added that the assault was undoubtedly in retaliation for last week's Al-Shebab raids on bases in a village on Somalia-Ethiopia border, in which 30 Somali and Ethiopian soldiers were killed.

Locals confirmed that a heavy gun battle occurred in the town on late Sunday morning and say that both sides suffered heavy loses.

Al-Shebab officials could not immediately be reached for comment but the movement's Radio Andalus reported that both "invading" Ethiopian and Somali forces met with stiff resistance from Al-Shebab fighters manning the bases.

According to witnesses, Sunday's attack was the bloodiest battle that Ethiopian troops have been involved in since they crossed the border to fight against the Al-Shebab.

"I have seen over 70 people dead mainly from the warring sides," said resident Hassan Mohamed.

Somali government forces, backed by African Union troops, have been battling against the Al Qaeda-linked group in the south and central regions of Somalia since March, capturing more than 10 towns from the militants.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Radio France Internationale. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

Ethiopian Security Forces Foil Terror Attacks

Four suspected members of Al Shabaab, the Islamic insurgent group, were captured (file photo).

According to security forces, plans to bomb some targets in the capital city Addis Ababa have been foiled after a suspected bomber believed to be a member of the Al-Shabaab terror ... Read more »