For the first time, Somali al-Shabaab terrorist attacks in Ethiopia

The Somali al-Shabab group has taken advantage of internal unrest in Ethiopia to cross the border in recent weeks and launch unprecedented attacks that a senior US military commander has warned could continue.

The deadly incursions into Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country and long considered a security pillar in the Horn of Africa, are the latest sign of just how much the fallout from the recent war in the northern Tigray region and other inter-ethnic strife has affected an even more dual country.

Ethiopia has long resisted such cross-border attacks by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab, in part by deploying forces inside Somalia, where the extremist group controls large rural areas of the country’s southern and central regions. But the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his security forces are fighting unrest at home, especially since the outbreak of the conflict in Tigray in late 2020.

Matt Bryden, a security analyst at the Sahan Research Foundation, told The Associated Press that the move to Ethiopia is an important strategic shift from al-Shabaab. The extremist group has not previously been able to conduct major operations inside Ethiopia,” noting that “reports of clashes along the border between Ethiopia and Somalia are only a small part of the picture. We understand that planning for this attack began over a year ago when the Ethiopian government was on the brink of collapse.”

Bryden confirmed that “Al-Shabaab has trained several thousand fighters for its leadership in Ethiopia, most of whom are ethnic Somalis and Oromo inside Ethiopia”, noting that “only last week, hundreds of al-Shabaab fighters managed to infiltrate Ethiopia, and their presence was revealed. near Multiple settlements such as El Curry, Grati and Emmy. The invasions began at the end of July.”

Source: AP

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