The Ethiopian government has downplayed claims of AL-Shabaab militia to have killed 167 Ethiopian soldiers in a surprise attack in the Bakool area of Somalia .
Ethiopia’s ambassador to Somalia, Mukhtar Mohamed Waare, has rejected the accusation as groundless and without evidence.
“They can try to attack the Ethiopian army, but they cannot engage in a fight with the Ethiopian defence 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 defence forces,” Ambassador Waare said.
In addition, the ambassador has denied the claims that the Ethiopian troops in Bakool were not part of the ATMIS mission and had entered Somalia unlawfully.
“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.
This offensive specifically targeted two convoys: one traveling from Yeed to Wajid, and the other from El Barde to Huddur. Wajid and Huddur serve as the headquarters for the Ethiopian troops.
A local official has confirmed that Somali forces accompanied the convoy going from El Barde to Huddur.
As per the mayor of Huddur, Omar Abdullahi Mohamud, there was intense fighting between the Ethiopian troops and the militants.
Allegedly, 50 militants were killed in the clash. Nevertheless, the al-Shabab organization maintains that they eliminated 167 Ethiopian soldiers, destroyed military vehicles, and seized a significant amount of weapons and ammunition.