African Union’s Ethiopian peacekeepers allied by local pro-government militias have begun preparations for an assault to retake a South-western key town in Somalia after crossing from the border, Horseed Media reports.
Bardhere, which is famous for its agricultural activities and capital of the Gedo region, is some 400 km west of Mogadishu. It has been a major stronghold for the al-Shabaab militants in the last five years.
So far the Ethiopian troops have met little resistance; though it remains unclear what battles may await them farther south.
In recent years, Somali and AMISOM forces have pushed al-Shabab fighters out of major cities, but the group has continued to launch attacks on the government and other targets. The group still controls large swathes of territory in rural areas.
A senior army official and other government sources have told Horseed Media that the planned offensive would continue until the government and African Union forces are able to take complete control of areas currently under al-Shabaab control.
Ethiopia has already troops in Somalia which are part of the African Union mission, with more than 4,000 soldiers based in Southern Somalia.
Published: July 9, 2015