New reporting has shed new light on Shabaab’s recent incursions into Ethiopia. However, many perplexing elements remain uncovered.
In addition to recently striking two Ethiopian outposts inside Somalia right on the border with Ethiopia, Shabaab also launched a three-day incursion into Ethiopia itself. On the Ethiopian side, officials from the Somali Region have stated that Shabaab was attempting to assist an ethnic Oromo insurgent group. This claim is likely dubious but follows a clear historical precedent.
The video provides the first known instance of a Western foreign fighter within the Islamic State Somalia’s ranks.
A US airstrike reportedly targeted Shabaab militants as they went on the offensive following the deadly terrorist attack in Nairobi.
Shabaab has claimed a number of attacks in recent days across southern Somalia, including briefly recapturing the strategic town of Balad just north of Mogadishu.
In a newly released video, Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mahmoud Rage addresses graduates of a training camp for foreign fighters. “Many” of the graduates are from Kenya and, Rage says, they should form an “army that will conquer Kenya so that we may return to our families and relatives in a state of honor and glory.”
Shabaab claims to have captured two towns in central Somalia after Ethiopian troops reportedly withdrew from their nearby bases.
While neither Ethiopia nor the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have commented on the attack, the released photos buttress the jihadist group’s claims.