Wajid, Bakool, Somalia –
Earlier today, the BBC reported that the militant group al-Shabaab ambushed a convoy belonging to the Ethiopian army between the towns of Rabdhure and Wajid in the Bakool region of Somalia’s South West State. The attack allegedly started with an IED explosion.
The terrorist group claimed the attack via their affiliated media channels. “The Mujahideen forces, in the last few hours, attacked Ethiopian forces stationed in the Hudur district. There was a heavy battle in which various types of weapons were used.” No casualties were reported, however.
Hudur, situated in the Bakool region of Somalia’s South West State, serves as the provincial capital and acts as the central hub for the Hudur District.
Wajid is located approximately 302 kilometres northwest of Mogadishu, 78 kilometres southwest of Hudur, and 69 kilometres southeast of the Somalia-Ethiopia border.
In March 2014, the Somali armed forces, supported by an Ethiopian battalion as part of AMISOM (now ATMIS), successfully liberated the district from al-Shabaab. This offensive formed part of a concerted and intensified military operation by the allied forces, aiming to eradicate the presence of the insurgent group from the southern regions of Somalia that were under its control.
Strategic approach to counter al-Shabaab needed
Al-Shabab, linked to al-Qaeda, has been waging an armed rebellion against Somalia’s internationally-recognized government for about 15 years. The group as well attacks neighbouring Kenya and, less frequently also, Ethiopia.
A well-considered strategy needs to be devised to degrade the group’s capabilities and compel them to engage in peace negotiations, ultimately fostering lasting stability in the region.
The time is on al-Shabaab’s side, however, as the ATMIS troops already began their gradual withdrawal. The drawdown presents a significant opportunity for al-Shabaab, and many officials and experts perceive the ATMIS exit plan as ill-conceived.