On June 9, 2016, a conflicting claim between the armed group, Al shabaab and AMISOM (Africa Union Mission in Somalia) had been reported, where both sides claimed to have killed a large number of opposition troops. Sheikh, Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al shabaab’s military operations spokesperson, told Reuters that they were able to kill 43 soldiers of Ethiopia after fighting and storming the town of Halgan, AMISOM’s base. Conversely, AMISOM claims that it has successfully repelled Al shabaab’s offensive attack and killed over 110 militants, and captured a large cache of arms. The number of Al shabaab militants killed by the joint forces of Ethiopia and Somalia is reported at 245, which was announced by the Ethiopian government via its state media.
The gunfire attack took place in the town of Halgan, in the Hiran region of central Somalia, which is about 300 km from the capital, Mogadishu. Al shabaab, labeled as an international terrorist with links to Al Qaeda, is known for its frequent attacks in East African states, most commonly in Somalia. As a response to the existing regional destabilization by Al shabaab, beginning in 2007, the African Union deployed a peacekeeping force named AMISOM, which is made up of 22,000 soldiers and police various African nations. Al shabaab now carries out regular attacks against AMISOM to drive them from Somalia. They have also toppled the Western-backed and existing government of Somalia in order to establish a strict version of Islamic government, which is the ultimate aim.
Thursday’s attack, which targeted the Ethiopian troops’ base, on AMISOM’s part, is a continuation of Al shabaab’s tactic to drive out AMISOM. Al shabaab’s offensive raid, which was supported by a suicide car bomb, has destroyed parts of the base and killed Ethiopian troops while losing 16 of its own militants. As a counter attack by the Ethiopian side, gunfire was exchanged against the militants and a huge attack occurred against Al shabaab troops, which left 245 dead, including five leaders of the militant groups as reported by the Ethiopian state media. The causalities cited by both groups are widely different and yet, not verified by independent bodies. This latest attack of Al shabaab gives rise to the fear that the group is gaining strength and will intensify its destabilizing role against East Africa, the conflict-torn region.
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