At least 3,000 Ethiopian troops who entered Somalia’s southern region of Gedo two days ago are preparing to attack territory under the control of Al Qaeda affiliated militant group Al Shabab. Eyewitnesses in Dolo town, 450 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu, told media that the troops proceeded to the town of Luq.
"A force about 3,000-strong armed with heavy weaponry crossed the border into Somalia and proceeded to Luq town," said one eyewitness, according the Daily Nation news website.
The planned offensive is to continue until the government and African Union forces are able to regain all areas captured by Al Shabab in Somalia, a senior army official told Horseed Media.
Ethiopian troops started crossing the border into Somalia on Monday with their tanks and armored vehicles.
The offensive will be carried out against Al Shabab’s last key stronghold in the town of Bardere and other areas controlled by the group, authorities in the region told Voice of America.
Despite losing most of the territory they once controlled, Al Shabab militants still launch attacks attacks on governmental targets in Somalia and nearby countries.
In northeastern Kenya 14 people were killed on Tuesday when Al Shabab raided homes there.
More than 4,000 Ethiopian soldiers have been sent across the border to Somalia since 2006 when Ethiopian troops entered the country to oust Al Shabab.
The Ethiopian troops in Somalia, which are part of the African Union mission AMISOM based in southern Somalia, have played a major role in driving Al Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu, and other areas.