Thursday February 8, 2024
Mogadishu (HOL) - Following a lethal attack in Beled-Haawo that claimed the lives of six people, including children from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopian forces operating independently from the African Union Mission have instituted a nighttime curfew in the Dolow district, located along the Somalia border. The assault prompted a comprehensive military response, with the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) launching operations in the Gedo region, particularly along the Dolow and Beled-Haawo corridor.With thousands of troops in Somalia, both as part of the African Union Transitional Mission (ATMIS) and additional forces requested by the Somali government to fight Al-Shabaab, Ethiopia's military involvement is substantial. Yusuf Hussein Dhumal, Jubbaland's Security Minister, indicated the attack targeted Ethiopians for their business and domestic ties, suspecting Al-Shabaab's involvement. Despite suspicions, Al-Shabaab has not claimed responsibility.
The backdrop of these events includes a contentious Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on January 1, 2024, between Ethiopia and Somaliland, which has sparked tensions with Somalia. The agreement, perceived by Somalia as an infringement on its sovereignty, alongside the subsequent threats against Ethiopians in Somalia, highlights the volatile security environment in the region. Ethiopia's own domestic challenges, particularly the Fano insurgency, have resulted in an extended state of emergency in the Amhara region, highlighting the country's multifaceted security challenges.
The African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) plays a critical security role in the region, despite a planned drawdown leading towards a final exit in December 2024. The Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) is responsible for Sector Three, encompassing Bay, Bakool, and Gedo regions, and shares security responsibilities with the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in south and central Somalia.