Ethiopia withdraws from Somalia el-Ali in Hiiraan region

Ethiopian troops fighting militant Islamist group al-Shabab have withdrawn from a key military base in central Somalia’s Hiiraan region, witnesses say.

Al-Shabab fighters have entered el-Ali village following the withdrawal, reports say.

Ethiopian forces had destroyed the base before abandoning the area, a radio station run by al-Shabab said.

The reason for the pull-out is unclear but al-Shabab said it had attacked the base recently.

In June, al-Shabab said it had killed 60 Ethiopian soldiers in an attack on a base in Halgan town, also in central Somalia.
Some Ethiopian soldiers are in Somalia as part of an African Union (AU) force while others are there as a result of a bilateral deal with the weak Somali government.

The Ethiopian soldiers in the 22,000-strong AU mission are responsible for securing Bay, Bakool, and Gedo regions but are also present in Hiiraan, which borders Ethiopia.

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