Ethiopian forces ditch another town in south-central Somalia
Jun 13, 2012 - 10:01:18 AM
MOGADISHU, Somalia June 13 2012 (Garowe Online) – Ethiopian and government backed Ahlu Sunna forces, have abandoned another town in south central Somalia, Radio Garowe reports.
The village of Wabho, approximately 40 kms south west of El Bur was vacated by Ahlu Sunnah and Ethiopian forces on Tuesday.
According to residents of Wabho, after the allied forces deserted the village, Al Shabaab militants quickly seized control and have been carrying out inspections of the allied forces’ empty barracks.
The allied forces in their tanks and technical vehicles headed to the district of Guri’el 120 kms west of Wabho, where they have set up camp.
It is unclear why the allied forces have retreated from another town in the region. Ahlu Sunnah authorities when asked did not comment on why the forces evacuated the town.
However local sources close to Ahlu Sunnah, said that the group will release statements following a meeting, which officials will discuss the recent retreats of allied forces in the Galgudud region and potential security measures.
On Sunday, Ethiopian forces vacated the town of El Bur which was quickly taken over by Al Shabaab insurgents. The following day two men, who were suspected of working with the allied forces, were found beheaded in the town’s center.
The brutal murder has left residents gripped with fear as Al Shabaab has assumed control.
On the other hand Ethiopia stated earlier this year that their mission was to force Al Shabaab from towns occupied by them but not to safeguard cities captured by Ethiopian forces.
Ethiopia has stated that they will depart from towns after handing it over to African Union forces (AMISOM) that have already deployed a small number of forces in Baidoa with more set to arrive.
Analysts say that the reason for the retreats by Ethiopian forces could possibly be delays in the substitution period, in which AMISOM forces were to assume control of cities captured by Ethiopian and Somali forces, causing Ethiopian forces to vacate even before the AU forces arrive.