BAIDOA, Somalia Feb 7 2012 (Garowe Online) – A contingent of
Ethiopian troops were ambushed by Al Shabaab fighters as they made their way
from El Barde in Bakool region in south central Somalia on Thursday, Garowe
According to local media in Bakool, the Ethiopian troops
were headed back from surveying the town of El Barde – which is located in Bay and Bakool
region - when they were ambushed near Yed, a village that lies in the middle of
El Barde and Hudur, where Ethiopian troops are stationed.
According to local sources, there were several casualties on
both sides and fighting is still ongoing in Bakool region.
The Bay and Bakool regions in south central Somalia were
one of the first regions that Al Shabaab suffered defeats. Baidoa the capital
of Bay region was captured from Al Shabaab insurgents in February of last year.
On Wednesday, an improvised explosive device (IED) hit a
vehicle carrying Ethiopian troops as they were passing an intersection in
Baidoa. Hiiraan Online a Somali web based media outlet, stated that at least 2
Ethiopian soldiers were killed in the blast.
Despite Baidoa being a rather serene city since its capture
by Ethiopian and Somali militia last year, the rural parts of Bay region are
quite different. Much of the rural areas in Bay and Bakool region are dominated
by Al Shabaab fighters.
According to Hiiraan Online, the town of Hudur where some Ethiopian troops are stationed,
is surrounded by Al Shabaab fighters and is very isolated, causing problems for
citizens of Hudur.
Sources who spoke to GO said that the situation in Hudur is
very dire; food supplies brought to the town are sold at exorbitant prices
which residents can’t afford.
The major towns and cities in south central and southern Somalia have been
rid of Al Shabaab fighters. However the vast majority of Somalis, who are
pastoralists, have to cope with overpowered Al Shabaab fighters who have fled
to the rural parts of Somalia.