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News: Somali region says Al-Shabaab militants entered through Afdheer zone, “completely destroyed” by regional forces

Addis Abeba – The Somali regional state security council said on Sunday that Al-Shabaab militants entered the Somali region through Afdheer zone on 20 July; they crossed from Aato area, in Bakool region of neighboring Somalia bordering Ethiopia’s Somali region.

“Four days ago, the terrorist Al-Shabaab militant group, which entered the Afder zone of Somali region from the place called “Aato”, was completely destroyed after being encircled in the sub-kebelle called Hulhul,” the statement said.

More than 100 members of Al-Shabaab militants were killed in the three-day operation, the Council said, and “13 vehicles were burnt and the weapons and supplies they brought with them were confiscated.”

Later on, Mustafe Omer, President of Somali region, tweeted pictures of him with members of the regional state’s special forces saying that he shared “lunch with the heroes who annihilated AS [Al-Shabaab] at Huluul, Afdheer zone.”

The statement did not mention the causalities and damages on the side of the Somali region security forces but it claimed that Al-Shabaab militants “targeted to enter Oromia region and meet up with Shene terrorist group” after passing through Elekere Woreda,a Woreda (district) located in Afdheer zone.

The Council attributed the “success of the operation in the last three days,” to the people of the Somali region, who “stood by the special forces by donating various foods, livestock, drinks, clothes and blood to the heroic Somali region special forces.”

It is the first official statement since the news of Al-Shabaab’s attack inside Ethiopian territory was first reported on 20 July. The next day Reuters quoted an unnamed Ethiopian security commander that the “militants from Somali Islamist group al Shabaab attacked two villages near the border with Ethiopia, killing 17 people including three civilians and Ethiopian police officers inside Somali territory while 63 of its fighters were killed.” Neither the Ethiopian federal government, nor the national defense forces commented on the matter as of the publishing of this news.

The Security Council said that “more information will be made public soon.” AS

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