Gunfire Erupts at Ethiopian Base in Somalia
MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Ethiopian peacekeepers in Somalia have exchanged gunfire at a military base in the town of Bardere in Gedo region on Sunday, months after the war raging in the Ethiopian northern region of Tigray divided the country’s troops serving the African Union peacekeeping mission in the neighboring Horn of Africa nation along ethnic lines.
It follows similar clashes between Ethiopian troops in the town of Halgan in central Somalia’s Hiran region in December last year.
Ethiopia’s military arrested dozens of Tigrayan peacekeepers in Somalia since November of last year when the government of the Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive aimed at ousting Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – the party that had dominated Ethiopia’s government for decades before the current prime minister rose to power in 2018.
Sustained burst of gunfire rattled the base and surrounding neighborhoods in the town of Bardere on Sunday morning, a local military official said.
“There was an in-fighting between Ethiopian military officers of Tigrayan and Amhara ethnicity at a base in Bardere and gunfire exchange lasted for about an hour,” he told Somaliguardian, asking for anonymity.
At least “two soldiers were reportedly dead in the gunfire exchange and many more wounded”, he added.
It has not been immediately clear the motive behind the renewed tensions between Ethiopian peacekeepers in Somalia. Somaliguardian has not been able to independently verify the source’s assertion and senior Gedo regional adminstration and army officials did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Tigray forces have continued advance in neighboring Afar and Amhara regions in what their leadership says aims to remove blockade on the war-hit northern region and allow humanitarian access to the region, where hundreds of thousands of people are in famine conditions.