After looting and burning the town of Rabdhure, Ethiopian forces withdraw to head to other towns
Mogadishu (Harar24) – Residents of the small town Rabdhure located in the Bakool region near the Somali-Ethiopian border were overjoyed to hear that the Ethiopians had left their city last night, however the joy was short lived for the residents who returned, as they found their town almost completely ransacked, with many stores and vehicles burnt, and at least one man left dead.
The damage to the town was dealt by Ethiopian soldiers who took over the city after a fierce fight with fighters from Al-Shabaab which lasted from morning until sunset on Wednesday. Once the residents heard of the advance of the Ethiopian army most residents decided to pack and evacuate, however when the Islamist movement decided to withdraw, all remaining residents evacuated, leaving the Ethiopians to enter a complete ghost town.
According to the chieftain of the local clan, Ugas Ali Mu’min whom Harar24 managed to contact minutes just after he re-entered the town, the Ethiopians were responsible for burning houses, shops and vehicles in the town, including his own. “I just came back to the town and it’s a complete disaster, many residences, shops and cars were set ablaze by the Ethiopian occupiers. I had left a car belonging to me in the town because it needed fixing, only to come back to it completely burnt” said chieftain Ali Mu’min.
Many residents believe the Ethiopians forces did this out of “hatred” and “animosity” towards the Somali people, especially those of the Bakool region who have a history of feuding with the Ethiopians. One resident told Harar24: “They have shown their hatred for the Somali people yet again, why did they burn our houses and our sources of livelihood? The Ethiopians are at war with the Somali people.”
The Ethiopian withdrawal from Rabdhure was confirmed by the deputy of the Ethiopian ambassador in Mogadishu who added that Al-Shabaab had retaken the town but said that they hadn’t initially planned to stay in that town but rather were planning to head to Wajid. This is contrary to claims by the deputy governor of Bakool who claimed that with the help of the Ethiopian forces the Somali government had captured “the largest Al-Shabaab base in southern Somalia”.
In other developments, many residents of the city of Hudur are preparing to leave the city as heavily armed Ethiopian forces are closing in on the city in an attempt to take it over after a day long battle between the Ethiopian forces and Al-Shabaab fighters at Bur Dhuhule, near Hudur.
Residents are said to be heading out of the city towards many of the tiny villages and their outskirts accompanied by their cattle and animals. Many believe that this will be very tough on the residents as it’s a dry season and are bound to face difficulties.
Some analysts have suggested that the Ethiopians are planning to capture the town of Wajid after their capture of Hudur, without facing much resistance from Al-Shabaab who already have changed their strategy to one of guerrilla warfare, in an attempt to restrict the lives and supply lines of the Ethiopian forces who’ll then face much difficulties staying in such towns.
The Ethiopian forces left Hudur just last year, after staying in the city for seven months after facing constant attacks and ambushes by Al-Shabaab which efficiently limited the movements and supplies of the Ethiopian forces.
Many are left wondering how things will work out now and how the tides shall turn. Is Ethiopia making the same mistakes again or are Al-Shabaab in for a surprise this time?