Al-Shabaab militants killed two Somali military men Tuesday night and abducted their wives and children before capturing the south east town of Tiyeglow in Bakool region Wednesday morning following withdrawal of Ethiopia forces, Goobjoog News has learnt.
A Federal Member Parliament Mohamed Isak Afralle who was in Tiyeglow Tuesday ahead of today’s fall of the town to Al-Shabaab militants told Goobjoog News the two soldiers were leaving the town ahead of the Ethiopian forces pull out.
“Al-Shabaab intercepted the vehicle carrying two Somali soldiers and their families in an area between El Ade and Tiyeglow. They killed the two men and abducted their wives and children,” said Afralle.
The lawmaker said the militants entered the district and ordered all civilians out as they went out looking for people they had in their lists.
The militants took control of the district adding to a list of other towns which have fallen to Al-Shabaab following the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces under Amisom in recent weeks.
Ethiopian government spokesman Getachew Reda told Reuters the troops were not part of the Amisom contingent noting the deployment was done in consultation with Somali troops.
Amisom has always insisted the withdrawals were tactical and aimed at re-configuring the forces. Amisom spokesman Joe Kibet told Goobjoog News this past week following the fall of Hagan village in Hiiraan region in central Somalia that the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces was strategic. He however noted the reinforcement and supplies to the forces in Hagan was a major logistical problem for Amisom owing to the remoteness and accessibility of the village.
In October alone, Al-Shabaab has retaken Moqokori, El Ali and Hagan all in central Somalia. Tiyeglow adds to the list in south western region of the country.
The withdrawal of Amisom forces and subsequent fall to Al-Shabaab is fast becoming a security challenge and could unwind achievements by the African Union forces as it enters its 9th year in the Horn of African country.
The election period in Somalia also presents major challenges for Amisom and Somali National Army which remain overstretched as they have to deal with the double task of securing elections and advancing offensives against Al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab has in the recent weeks ratcheted up attacks in the country with the latest being the Tuesday suicide bomb attack on an Amisom base in Beledweyne in central Somalia. At least four Djibouti forces under Amisom were killed and seven others injured. Two civilians were also killed in the wave of attack which started with a guest house attack in Kenya’s Mandera county in the wee hours of Tuesday claiming 12 lives.
Sources say the Ethiopian troops and their Somali counterparts moved to Hudur, the capital of Bakool.