Ethiopia's military says 462 Al-Shabaab fighters killed in failed Somalia attack
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - At least 462 Al-Shabaab members were killed last weekend in Somalia, Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] confirmed, in an attempted ambush at a military base controlled by the Ethiopian troops serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS].
On Wednesday, ENDF recounted the last weekend incident in southern Somalia, in which Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed over 178 Ethiopian soldiers in an ambush. In response, the Ethiopian army dismissed the claims as "innuendos" and promised to give accurate reports.
According to the Ethiopian army, the incident which happened in Rabdhure, Southwest Somalia, saw the militants plan to attack a base by use of 12 suicide bombers. Three explosive-laden vehicles had also been loaded ready for the assault, the army said, adding that the militants were neutralized.
The Ethiopian army has previously foiled multiple Al-Shabaab attempts to infiltrate eastern Ethiopia to carry out cross-border attacks, read the statement. The Al-Shabaab has particularly been targeting security teams in Somalia, and have often been using Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs] and suicide bombers.
The group has also tried to cross over to Ethiopia but the resilience along the border has kept them at bay, mostly managing to control movements around Dolow in Gedo. Last year, several Al-Shabaab militants were killed inside Ethiopia shortly after crossing over using the Dolow route, Addis Ababa confirmed.
For a long time, Ethiopia has been a close associate of Somalia in the fight against Al-Shabaab, participating directly in the elimination of the group from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Since then, Ethiopian troops have confirmed themselves in parts of Jubaland and Southwest where they are assisting the national army to restore stability.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud recently asked for support from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti where he said the deployment of non-ATMIS troops will significantly help the country to execute the second phase of operations against the group. However, the three countries are yet to send the troops.
Already, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] troops have started leaving in compliance with the Somali Transition Plan [STP] which was signed sometime back. It is anticipated that by next year December, most Al-Shabaab militants will have been defeated in the country.