Ethiopian, Somalian troops captured two districts in Bay region

Transitional Federal Government forces, with support from Ethiopian troops, captured two districts and several villages from Al-Shabaab in the Bay region last Friday.

According to TFG and local sources this success involved only minor fighting before Al-Shabaab abandoned the districts of Burhakaba and Qasahdhere as well as the villages of Moodemoode, Daynuunay, Manaas, Iidaale and Ufurow.

Abdifatah Gessey, the TFG governor for Bay region, confirmed the advance made by government and allied forces. He stressed that the operations against Al-Shabaab militants would continue and indeed increase. “Early on Friday, our troops advanced operations against the terrorist group, they tried to repel us, but the national forces succeeded in chasing them away,” he said. “I can confirm to you that our forces are in full control of these districts and villages and operations will continue till we secure the entirety of the Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions,” he added. He took the opportunity to ask local residents to cooperate with TFG forces.

In fact, the allied forces now seem to have completely captured the whole of the Bay region, except for Dinsoor district where Al-Shabaab still has a large base.

Despite these advances, Al-Shabaab still retains some capacity to carry out bomb attacks. Twelve people died in a bomb attack on Monday in a busy market in Baidoa, the capital of Bay region. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack it said was aimed at Somali and Ethiopian troops. However “Most of the casualties were people standing in front of the butchers shop inside the main market and all the casualties were civilians [except for one ] soldier who was slightly injured,” said a mother of five.

Such attacks hitting civilians rather than soldiers underline Al-Shabaab’s weaknesses and its resort to suicidal attacks targeting civilians in its efforts to survive.

Source: A Week in the Horn – April 13, 2012 issue

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