An attack on Ethiopian troops in Somalia by the radical Islamist group Al Shabaab has left dozens dead, reports say.
Militants ambushed Ethiopian soldiers, and some Somali troops, early Saturday in Yurkut village in Somalia’s central Geddo region after blocking roads around the village, according to the BBC.
Fighting continued for four hours. Al Shabaab claims to have killed 73 Ethiopians, while the Somali government says it in turn killed 48 of the militants during the ambush.
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Yurkut lies the near strategic town of Luuq on the road linking the Somali-Ethiopian border with Baidoa, a former militant enclave in the south of Somalia seized by Ethiopian forces last month, the Agence France Presse reports.
Saturday’s attack comes hours after the African Union (AU) announced that Ethiopian troops, hundreds of whom crossed into Somalia in November, are to be withdrawn from Baidoa and another recently recaptured town, Beledweyne, by the end of April, to be replaced by forces from Djibouti, Uganda and Burundi, Reuters reports.
It is not clear if all Ethiopian forces will be withdrawn from the country. In January Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said troops would be pulled out once AU forces were in place, GlobalPost reports.
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