update on Ethiopian Army Demand Ransom For The Release of kidnapped Somali Army Commander MP : Bare Aden Shire The Former Somali Defence MinisterA renewed government offensive against militant Islamist group al-Shabaab in the Gedo region could be delayed by a dispute over the arrests of militia leaders by Ethiopia. Forces supporting the Transitional Federation Government on Monday started moving from Ceel Waaq towards Buusaar/Faafax Dhuun villages. Another group of soldiers moved from Luq towards Yurkud and Berdale settlements to attack al-Shabaab bases and continue with the government’s advances in the Gedo region. The government-allied forces are supported by two Ethiopian battalions based in Luq and Garbaharey. Similar movements were reported from Dhobley towards Afmadow. The move is apparently the first step of a new offensive targeting Bardhere and Berdale districts. However, reports indicate that the anti-Al-Shabaab forces based in Luq and Bohol Bashiir are currently divided over the arrests of some Transitional Federal Government lawmakers and other militia commanders, mainly from the Hadame sub-clan of the Marehan clan, by Ethiopia. One group is accusing Kiish Buur, leader of the ex-TFG militias from Baidoa, of being behind those arrests and are refusing to fight until their colleagues are released. The offensive towards Berdale/Baidoa could be postponed until this issue is resolved. A lawmaker on Tuesday expressed over his concern on the arrests of TFG militia commanders. MP Adan Ibrahim Dayow, who hails from the Bay region, told a Mogadishu-based radio that Ethiopia was an obstacle to the government offensive. Dayow urged the Ethiopian government to release the leaders without conditions. He also demanded the TFG make all possible efforts to release the lawmakers in Ethiopian custody. Although the TFG promised to talk to the Ethiopian government, no progress has been made as the leaders are still held in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government allegedly accused that the commanders and Gen. Barre Hirale were unreliable and difficult to control. Ethiopia mainly provides logistics and military supplies to the government-allied forces in Juba and Gedo regions. Ethiopia’s invasion to oust the Islamic Courts Union prompted the al-Shabaab insurgency in early 2007, although the regional power pulled out its troops in early 2009.
Somalia: The Ethiopian Factor part # 3