BAIDOA, Somalia Jan 5 (Garowe Online) -
Ethiopian soldiers backed by armored vehicles reentered two towns in southwestern Somalia, forcing Al Shabaab insurgents to withdraw, Radio Garowe reports.
Residents said the Ethiopian army garrison that arrived in Qansah Dheere district, in Bay region, were dispatched from bases in neighboring Gedo region.
"The people [of Qansan Dheere] have begun fleeing their homes, because they fear war," said resident Isak Nurow.
A brief gunfight erupted in the outskirts of town as the Ethiopian force, which included some Somali soldiers, advanced towards Qansah Dheere, he added.
Separately, Ethiopian troops peacefully captured the town of Garbaharey, provincial capital of Gedo region.
Nur Mattan, a member of Somalia's federal parliament, is reportedly leading clan militiamen under the guise of Ethiopian-backed government troops, local sources said.
Al Shabaab fighters who controlled much of Gedo have reportedly withdrawn to Bardhere town, with MP Mattan vowing to attack Bardhere and "expel the terrorists."
Ethiopia has began pulling its troops out of Mogadishu, but Ethiopian soldiers have spearheaded incursions into Gedo region in recent days.
Ethiopian troops re-enter Gedo, Al Shabaab retreat
Source: Garowe Online