Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Pull Out Main Town in Central Somalia; AL-SHABAAB MOVED IN
The town, known as CeelBur or El Bur or Al Bur, located about 150 km south of the Ethiopian border, was captured by Al-Shabaab fighters shortly after the withdrawal.
There are no official statements from Addis Ababa or Mogadishu, yet. However, an official of Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, which is an ally of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, told a news outlet that their retreat was for tactical reasons.
Here are the media reports of regarding the withdrawal and Al-Shabaab’s actions.
Ethiopian troops pull out main town in central Somalia
Shabelle Media Network June 10, 2012
El-Bur (Sh. M. Network)-Columns of Ethiopian troops and pro government Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ) fighters backed by armored vehicles have on Sunday pulled out completely from the main town of Al Bur in Galgadud region, central Somalia, local residents said.
Residents say the Al Qaeda-linked Al shabab militants recaptured the town of El Bur shortly after pro-government forces arrived on Sunday, accompanied by members of the moderate Islamist ASWJ militia, which is fighting alongside Somalia’s UN-backed government.
“We woke up this morning seeing Ethiopian armored personnel carriers withdrawing from the town, and Al shabab fighters pouring into the city without a single shot,” El Bur residents reported.
Questions rose about the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from El Bur town, which lies just about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the Ethiopian border. Ethiopian troops re-entered Somalia last year to help Somali government war on Al shabab and have taken positions in south-central Somalia.
Al Shabaab still controls some of southern and central Somali regions, but is under increasing pressure from Somali, Kenyan forces and African Union (AU) forces in the south and Ethiopian forces in the West and central.
Somalia: Al Shabaab fighters retake Ceelbuur town as Ethiopian forces withdrew
June 10, 2012 – Mogadishu (RBC Radio) Somalia’s Islamist fighters of Al Shabaab have on Sunday morning re-seized Ceelbuur town, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) south of the Ethiopian border in the central region of Galgaduud after Ethiopian army aided by Ahlusuna militia withdrew from the town, RBC Radio reports.
Eyewitnesses told RBC Radio that they saw Al Shabaab militias riding armoured battle wagons with black banners on top entering the town early of Sunday. There were no confrontation reported from the town.
Locals confirmed that the Ethiopians and Ahlusuna fighters headed towards Guricel town which is the stronghold of Ahlusuna.
The Ethiopian forces who were backing the fighters from the pro-government militia Ahlu Sunna seized Ceelbuur town from Al Shabaab in March and the town had been under Ahlusuna’s control since then despite internal argument on the the administration of the town had been increasingly arising.
Somalia: Allied forces retreat from former Al Shabaab stronghold
EL BUR, Somalia Jun 10 2012 (Garowe Online) – The waning terrorist organization Al Shabaab, has captured El Bur from allied forces on Sunday, Radio Garowe reports.
El Bur a town in south central Somalia was captured by Al Shabaab insurgents after allied forces retreated Sunday morning. It is unclear why Ahlu Sunnah and Ethiopian forces vacated the town of El Bur, but sources say that there was a delay in reinforcements.
Ali Godane the Al Shabaab spokesman confirmed that the town of El Bur was captured by the militants. “The allied forces fled from the town carrying the injured after our agents handed a crushing defeat to the infidels,” said the spokesman.
El Bur a former stronghold for the Al Shabaab was captured when pro government Ahlu Sunnah and Ethiopian troops entered the strategic town located in the region of Galgudud.
Residents of El Bur said that the situation is calm but residents are gripped with fear.
“There’s still sporadic gunfire, but right now things have calmed down for the most par. People however, are extremely worried about what’s going to happen,” said Mohamed Khalif.
The Transitional Federal Government has yet to release a statement on the Al Shabaab advancement.
Al Shabaab’s control in southern Somalia has depleted over the past months, with allied forces advancing on the terrorist organization’s bases in southern Somalia.
Somalia: Two men beheaded by Al Shabaab, after allied forces retreat from town
EL BUR, Somalia Jun 11 2012 (Garowe Online) – Two young men were beheaded by the terrorist organization Al Shabaab, after allied forces withdrew from the central town of El Bur on Sunday, Garowe Online reports.
The two young men were found early Monday morning beheaded in the central town of El Bur.
According to witnesses in El Bur, the men were apprehended shortly after Al Shabaab entered the town, and were beheaded Sunday night after Al Shabaab suspected the men of working with Ahlu Sunnah and Ethiopian forces that were stationed in the town before Al Shabaab captured it on Monday.
El Bur a town in south central Somalia was captured by Al Shabaab insurgents after allied forces retreated Sunday morning for tactical reasons, according to Ahlu Sunnnah officials.
“These two boys were slaughtered, which has really shocked the residents of El Bur who awoke this morning to this tragedy, we are all worried and we don’t know what is going to happen,” said a woman who resides in El Bur and asked GO not to disclose her name.
On Sunday Mohamed Khalif who spoke to GO using an alias, expressed the same fears and worries of what was going to happen after allied forces abandoned the town of El Bur. He spoke to GO again on Monday and said that the residents of El Bur were left to fend for themselves after the allied forces retreated from the town.
“I’m disappointed that Ahlu Sunnah and Ethiopian forces have left the residents of El Bur in predicament of sorts; people are being killed because of suspicion of working with the allied forces, its very hard on us,” said Mr. Khalif.
Analysts say that the retreat of the allied forces played into the hands of Al Shabaab, who want to prove that the allied forces do not have the people’s interest in mind.
The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia who backs Ahlu Sunnah has yet to comment on the capturing of El Bur by Al Shabaab insurgents. However, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas stated on Monday that by August the TFG predicts that the reign of Al Shabaab will be over.