Ethiopia says it foiled a suicide attack by the armed group al-Shabab at a border town with Somalia.
The Ethiopian army “stopped the attackers in their tracks before they could wreak havoc” in the Ethiopia-Somalia border town of Dollo, the foreign ministry said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
“The Ethiopian National Defense Forces neutralised suicide bombers and destroyed weapons to be used by the terrorist group,” it added.
Al-Shabab, which has been linked to al-Qaeda, has been waging an armed rebellion against Somalia’s central government for about 15 years.
The armed group, meanwhile, claimed via its communication channels that it conducted two suicide bombings at an Ethiopian military base on the Somali side of the border, according to the United States monitoring group SITE.
The first attack targeted “the headquarters of the local military command” while the second hit a weapons and ammunition warehouse, it said.
“The two operations resulted in heavy casualties in deaths and injuries,” the group said. Al-Shabab is known to exaggerate claims of its battlefield success.
The alleged incident in Dollo comes days after Uganda announced 54 of its soldiers were killed in an attack on a base housing African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Somalia.
Al-Shabab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 by an AU force, but it still controls swathes of countryside and continues to wage deadly strikes on civilian, political and military targets.
It has targeted Ethiopia in retaliation for Addis Ababa sending troops into Somalia as part of the AU force – known as the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) – to oust the armed group. In mid-2022, the armed group attacked several Ethiopian military camps on the border between the two countries.
ATMIS, which has 22,000 troops, has been assisting Somalia’s federal government in its war against al-Shabab since 2022 when it replaced the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Al-Shabab also intermittently launches attacks in neighbouring Kenya as part of reprisals for Nairobi sending troops to support Mogadishu’s rebel pushback.