Ethiopia: Al-Shabaab did not kill our soldiers, they are lying
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Hours after a statement from the Al-Shabaab militants claiming to have killed several Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] soldiers, Addis Ababa has set records straight, dismissing the claim as "untrue" and "coordinated propaganda" by the group to cover up their losses in the country.
On Sunday, Al-Shabaab said it killed over 167 Ethiopian soldiers who were in a convoy but did not produce evidence to support their claims which comes as Somalia plans for the second phase of operations against the group in Jubaland and Southwest states.
Mukhtar Mohamed Waare, Ethiopia's ambassador to Somalia, told the local media that the claims were untrue while insisting that the militants do not have the capacity to challenge ENDF, which is one of the strongest forces within East and Northern Africa.
"They can try to attack the Ethiopian army, but they cannot engage in a fight with the Ethiopian defense forces for even 10 minutes. This army is highly professional, well-equipped, and organized. Whenever they confront the enemy, they deliver a decisive blow. Therefore, this is nothing more than propaganda against Ethiopia and the Ethiopian defense forces," Ambassador Waare said.
According to him, the Ethiopian soldiers attacked in Bakool are part of those serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], clearing claims that non-ATMIS troops from the country have been operating in Somalia against the law.
"We are in Somalia with the approval of the African Union and the international community, aiming to support the legitimate government of Somalia and its efforts to bring peace to this country. So, these claims by al-Shabab are nothing but propaganda," Ambassador Mukhtar emphasized.
The ambush targeted two convoys, one traveling from the Somali town of Yeed to Wajid and the second convoy as it traveled from El Barde to Huddur. Ethiopian troops have bases in Wajid and Huddur. A Somali official said local forces were accompanying the convoy en route to Huddur from El Barde.
On Sunday, Huddur mayor Omar Abdullahi confirmed heavy fighting in Bakool between the troops and the militants but did not give further details. The Al-Shabaab have been randomly attacking security forces besides killing innocent civilians within the Horn of Africa nation.