Baidoa, Somalia July 18, 2013 — The officials of Ethiopian troops stationed in Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) met in Bay regional capital of Baidoa on Thursday, Garowe Online reports.
The two officials discussed about the security situation of Baidoa following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Bay and Bakool regions in southern Somalia and the measures required for its strengthening. The meeting held in Baidoa was also a farewell for Ethiopian troops, who have been vacating Bay and Bakool regions since last month.
Speaking at the meeting, the commander of Ethiopian troops operating in Somalia Gen. Yohannes said the chief plan of Ethiopian government forces stationed in Somalia isn't to completely withdraw from Somalia rather than to remain some vicinity in Somalia.
"We have planned to vacate Baidoa and the other regional districts but we will remain some parts in Somalia, we will be with you [Somali people] till Somalia gets rid of Al Shabaab," he added.
Continuing, Mr. Yohannes vowed that his troops will combat Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab extremists in every place "Al Shabaab is the enemy of the Somali people and the East of Africa nations, we won't leave Somalia since Al Shabaab wants to harm these people and others and we will intensify the fight against them".
On the other hand, AMISOM officials who were present during the bilateral discussions told that they will fill the bases vacated by Ethiopian troops and called on the locals to cooperate with AMISOM forces on the ongoing plan of tightening the security and restoring the stability of Bay region.
Four killed as Al Shabaab attack Aw Dinle town
Heavy fighting erupted in Aw Dinle town of Bay region in southern Somalia between Somali government forces and Al Shabaab militants, Garowe Online reports.
Eyewitnesses reported that Thursday's fighting lasted for nearly an hour, leading to casualties consisting of 4 dead bodies and 10 wounded.
"The fighting was heavy and resulted casualty figures including civilians, we heard the sound of heavy gunfire and the fighting lasted for nearly one hour," said an eyewitness Omar Malaq who spoke to the media by telephone from Aw Dinle.
Aw Dinle Mayor Mohamed Abdullahi told the media that the Somali government forces gained the upper hand by repulsing the Al Shabaab attack on Aw Dinle.
Spokesman for Al Shabaab group said their militia killed a number of soldiers but he declined to comment on the casualties on their side.
This fighting comes as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) declared that they will handle the security situation of Bay region and it is noteworthy to mention that AMISOM troops and the Somali government forces are co-located in Baidoa military bases where Ethiopian troops vacated last week.