MOGADISHU – Hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers have arrived in central Somali after crossing its border along Somalia to join a large-scale offensive against al-Shabab extremists.
The new Ethiopian troops with battle wagons and trucks all full of soldiers and guns entered Guri’el town, some 400 km north of Somali capital Mogadishu.
Mohamed Hussein, a local resident said heavily armored personnel carriers entered into a town controlled by pro-government militias on Tuesday.
They [soldiers] are believed to be Ethiopia’s promised reinforcement for the renewed offensive against the Al Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab jihadist group in Somalia.
The group, which once controlled much of Somali capital Mogadishu in 2011, is seeking to topple the western-backed government and impose its strict version of the Sharia law.
It is unclear if the new soldiers are part of African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
Last year, Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed asked a support from neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti to increase the offensive against the group.
Ethiopian is among those countries has the highest contribution of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM.
Somalia is preparing for a long-awaited joint military offensive with African Union forces meant to push al-Shabab fighters out of their strongholds in regions in south of Somalia.