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Somalia: Insurgents Ambush Ethiopian Troops in Central Region


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Garowe Online (Garowe)

13 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008


Heavily armed insurgent fighters ambushed an Ethiopian army convoy as it drove its way through central Somalia Sunday, sparking a 30-minute gunfight, sources said.

Local sources in Halgan village in the central region of Hiran reported that rebels loyal to the Islamic Courts launched a surprise attack on Ethiopian troops, who left the provincial capital of Beletwein earlier Sunday.

The Ethiopian army contingent was on its way to Bulo Burte, a town in Hiran region that fell to the control of Islamists last week.

It was very difficult to ascertain casualty numbers during's today's battle, but local sources reported that the fighting included a fierce infantry battle between the two sides.

An Islamist guerrilla commander who identified himself as Gagale contacted Garowe Online to confirm the battle, stating that the fighting had stopped by midday.

He claimed that the Ethiopian soldiers suffered heavy casualties, although his claim could not be independently confirmed.

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This is not the first time Ethiopian troops have been attacked in Hiran region. Islamist guerrillas have raided two towns in Hiran over the past month and launched a deadly ambush against Hiran Governor Yusuf Daboged.

Somalia's interim government, backed by Ethiopian troops, is struggling to reassert central authority after more than 17 years of civil war.

The Islamists have vowed to continue their bloody insurgency until Ethiopian troops are forced to withdraw from Somalia and Islamic rule is reinstituted as the law of the land.

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