Ethiopians killed in an overnight attack within Somalia


MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least six Ethiopians were killed on Monday morning in southern Somalia, multiple sources have confirmed, which could trigger another round of tensions in the Horn of Africa, a region that has been battling with instability for decades.

The six Ethiopians and a local were killed in an overnight attack in the southern Somalia town of Beled Hawo, local officials said. The town borders Kenya and is not far from Ethiopia but it is located within the troublesome Gedo region in Jubaland.

Abdirashid Abdi, Arog, the mayor of the town, told VOA Somali that five women and two men were killed after gunmen attacked a compound around 3:24 am local time. This is the first serious attack within the vicinity, which claimed lives in as many months.

The Ethiopians are said to be of ethnic Oromo while the seventh victim is a Somali woman. Six other Ethiopians were injured in the attack, Arog said. Authorities pointed the finger at al-Shabaab militants, who have been wrestling to take over the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia.

Ethiopia is one of the major security stakeholders in Somalia, having dispatched over 4,000 soldiers for the peacekeeping mission under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which has been instrumental in the stabilization of the country.

For a long time, Al-Shabaab militants have been trying to invade Ethiopia but have often met resistance due to well-coordinated surveillance by Ethiopian authorities. The Ethiopian forces have managed to liberate several strategic towns in the country.

While the motive of the attack remains unclear, Al-Shabaab did issue a stern warning to Ethiopia over the recent MoU that was signed between Addis Ababa and authorities in Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia.

The al-Shabaab demanded that Ethiopia rescind the MoU. Once implemented, the MoU will see Ethiopia getting 20 kilometers of the Red Sea, which it will use for a military base and port. In return, Ethiopia has pledged to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign state.

Also, the MoU has been criticized by several international partners, who accuse Ethiopians of 'blatant disregard of international law '. Addis Ababa has vowed to implement the agreement, arguing that it does not affect relationships with any country.


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