Ethiopia: Al-Shabaab attack on ENDF base in Somalia successfully repelled
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] manning Dolow base in Western Somalia successfully repelled the Al-Shabaab attack which would have been otherwise catastrophic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said, noting that the militants had tried to use suicide bombers to initiate the attack.
Dolow town is found in the Gedo region and it is the same border point Al-Shabaab tried to use while crossing over to Ethiopia last year, suffering immense losses in the process. Weapons used by the militants on Wednesday were completely destroyed by ENDF which responded swiftly, the ministry added.
“The Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] stopped the attackers in their tracks before they could wreak havoc,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted.
It added: “The ENDF neutralized suicide bombers and destroyed weapons to be used by the terrorist group.”
Multiple reports from residents confirmed that the first explosion by the militants occurred at a checkpoint outside the highly fortified base while the second explosion was activated several miles from the base. The militants have often targeted Ethiopian troops but are yet to have a significant breakthrough.
There are thousands of Ethiopian soldiers in Dolow, some of them not members of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] due to security measures that were adopted sometimes back. Al-Shabaab militants have often tried to use the border to penetrate Ethiopian territory.
In a statement, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they sent two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices driven by suicide bombers. Four soldiers were seriously injured in the process, state media reported.
Osman Nuh Haji, a Somali regional security official, denied the report, telling VOA Somali that there were no casualties among soldiers or civilians and that troops destroyed a vehicle before it reached the base.
“The checkpoint is far from the base. When the car failed to stop, the soldiers fired shots in order to stop it,” Haji said. “When that did not succeed and they realized that it was carrying explosives they destroyed it with a missile.”
On May 26, Al-Shabaab overran Bulo Marer Forward Operating Base in Somalia which is manned by Uganda People's Defense Forces [UPDF], killing 54 soldiers in the process.
The Somali National Army and foreign troops are set to activate the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab in Jubaland and Southwest states.