Somalia: Residents flee homes amid fears of anti-al Shabaab offensive

Published: July 12, 2015

Somalia: Residents flee homes amid fears of anti-al Shabaab offensiveThousands of people are fleeing the South-western city of Bardheere amid fears of an Ethiopian and Somali forces offensive to recapture the agricultural-rich area from the extremist group al-Shabaab, Horseed Media reports.
The fleeing residents have sought shelter in neighbouring districts such as El Wak, luq and Doolo, where there is little relief assistance but under the control of the government administration.
“We are afraid because we heard that the Ethiopian soldiers are heading to our town,” said one of the people fleeing.
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.
According to multiple sources, al-Shabaab has urged local residents to take the arms and fight against “old enemies” which they meant Ethiopian troops and support the”mujahedeens” in the front line.
So far the Ethiopian troops have met little resistance; though it remains unclear what battles may await them farther south.
Since 2012, Al-Shabab lost key strongholds to the AU troops and Somali national army, but it has since carried out deadly attacks in the Somali capital.
Horseed Media

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