President of Ethiopia’s Somali region links Al-Shabaab offensive to GERD dispute

Mustafe Agjar

NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – President of Ethiopia’s Somali region Mustafe Agjar linked a recent Al-Shabaab offensive to a long-running dispute over a giant hydro-electric dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile River.

In an interview with VOA Amharic, Agjar said there were powers waging proxy war through which Al-Shabaab aims to establish bases inside Ethiopia while capitalizing on the years-long conflict raging in the north of the Horn of Africa nation.

Recent power shift in Somalia and intelligence information passed to the insurgents about security loopholes in border areas may have induced Al-Shabaab offensive in eastern Ethiopia, the regional President added without giving further details.

Horn of Africa analyst Matt Bryden said the attack appears to be the start of a major, strategic initiative to establish an active combatant presence in Ethiopia, probably in the southeastern Bale Mountains.

“Reports from the field suggest that some AS units have penetrated as far as 100 kilometers inside Ethiopia and may still be active,” he added.

Al-Shabaab said last week it had killed at 87 Ethiopian soldiers in an attacks on two towns along the Somali border with Ethiopia and released images showing military vehicles and prisoners it captured. Since then there have been reports that militants crossed over the border into eastern Ethiopia. read more

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