African Union forces battling Islamist insurgents in Somalia are preparing troops to take over should Ethiopia withdraw more soldiers from the region, their commander said Thursday.

“We have in place contingent measures to ensure that areas in Bay and Bakool…remain stable and secure in the event of further Ethiopian troop withdrawals,” said Andrew Gutti, commander of African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM), referring to southwest Somali regions currently controlled by Ethiopia.

Ethiopian troops, the strongest military power in Somalia’s southwest ever since their November 2011 invasion, pulled out of the town of Hudur on Sunday, the capital of Bakool region.

Hours later, Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab swept into the town, their most important territorial victory for over a year.

The capture prompted jubilant celebrations, which included the beheading of an influential cleric in the town.

Despite a string of losses in recent months, the Shebab remain a potent threat, still controlling rural areas as well as carrying out guerrilla attacks in areas apparently under government control.

Somali militia forces allied to the Ethiopians, as well as a column of some 2,000 terrified civilians, fled shortly after the Ethiopian pullout.

Security sources say the withdrawal from Hudur could signal a wider pullout of Ethiopian forces including from the key city of Baidoa, warning that if this happens, the 17,000-strong AMISOM would be hugely overstretched.

AMISOM, which fights alongside Somali government forces, “is closely monitoring developments following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Hudur,” the force said in a statement.

“We are conducting a review of our troop deployments…and remain confident that there will be sufficient coverage,” Gutti added.

Security sources say that AMISOM would struggle at its current capacity to take over Ethiopian positions, while Somali troops who have worked closely with Ethiopian troops might not necessarily cooperate so well with other forces.

So far, Hudur is the only major town Ethiopians have pulled out of, but troops are also packing kit in Baidoa in apparent preparation to leave.

Ethiopian troops entered Somalia in late 2011 to attack Shebab bases, shortly after Kenyan troops invaded Somalia from the far south.

While Kenyan troops have since joined AMISOM, Ethiopia remained separate.



  1. Hudur was taken without a single shot being fired it was on a plate and Al shabaab took it. what happened to Raxanweyn warriors? why can't they defend their land from Al shabaab? Ogaden kicked (Al shabaab) from Kismayo, Abgal from Mogadishu and Mareexaan from Dhuusamareeb.

    Come on Raxanweyn warriors at least put up a fight for Baydhabo.

  2. Pathetic Government, relying on foreign troops to fight for them. They can't even hold small town after their Ethiopian masters pull out to teach them lessons. PuntlandGeezer, has explanation for this, blame someone else, a tribe he doesn't like, such as the Raxanweyn, poor and innocent people of Somalia. Get off your behind and stop being glued to your computer to following all that is positive and progressive in Somaliland so that you can hate on us and get on with the business of building viable authority that follows our footsteps to reconciliation, democratization, institution building, and economic development. When they hear the Alshebabe name they turn their back, instead of fighting. Punch of losers.

  3. Shabab rules 70% of the Somalia-Road-Map-Federal State …

    Since they hold Majority stake in ground control it should be Shabab who attends the London Conference RIGHT?

    Amisom will be totally destroyed if they spread their troops too lean by holding on to the Western towns with which Ethiopia held on via 30,000 troops!

    If the civilian population want Shabab to be their Government then so be it don't force alien on the Road-Mapped governments that will never really control anything or deliver any services to the civilians.

  4. Don't be silly, Ogaden or Majeerteen or even Isaaq cannot stop Shabaab, Shabaab is fighting for a cause be it wrong or right, The mighty Ethiopian army is running away from these well displined Shabaab fighters what a chance do a Rahanweyn or any other Militia stand? zero. Its the painful truth that Shabaab is not defeated, they remain a fighting force, these guys fought heavily armed AU troops for years. Seriously if Shabaab takes over Mogadishu, then they will take over the whole country no one has any chance.

  5. Folks..If the Ethiopians Amisom pull off from Somalia becomes a reality…it would be pretty hard
    for any other Amisom including the Kenyans and Djibouti to win the warfares against the
    Alshabab fighters. The Kenyan disputed elections could also change their Somalia
    military insurgence. With many political activities happening it would be difficult to foresee
    the turns and twists of so many events.

  6. TO ALL backward none sense thinkers.

    This was pre-plan ethiopian troops should bullover so AMISON could take over.

  7. buxis.

    You sound like your uncle GODANE "if ppl want Al-shabab so be it". if your little brain think the more Al-shabab took over some towns the more your fake recognition will become closer your wrong.

    Infact IC KNOW head office of AL-shabab which is Hargiesa council.

  8. Expecting Somalia's arch enemy's Kenya and Ethiopia to to defeat Shabaab so that it can have peace was like relying on the Shaytan to rescue you.

    The sole purpose for this was to pressure this government (the first not willing to be their puppet since the collapse of the republic) to recognize their version of Jubbaland through IGAD.

    See unlike Burundi/Uganda who are there for the money and Djibouti genuinely wanting to help so it can have its bigger brother back to protect her from Ethiopia itself and Eritrea the Ethiopians and the Kenyans are there to undermine the rebirth of Somalia in order to protect their occupation of the NFD and Somaligalbeed.

    Today it was Ethiopia threatening to pull out tomorrow it could be Kenya It's time for this government to compromise with nationalist like Robow and Aweys now they still got the upper hand sticking 2 fingers up to Nairobbery and Aids Ababa.

    Robow and Aweys are like the Taliban (which Kabul couldn't defeat so was forced to negotiate with) their concentration is only in Somalia unlike Godane who supports and advocates AQ's version of international jihad.

    Do remember the Taliban are not on the list of groups for terrorism unlike AQ and their alleys neither is Aweys but Robow is which might make it difficult so H.E SHSM needs to lobby the US to delist him ASAP because he's the one really in charge of the lower Shabelle Bay and Bakool even maybe middle Jubba

    We know Godan has fled the south and might be in central Somalia or Galgala mountains with the likes of Shongale or even in Hargeisa itself

    • Irir
      Your comment is all over the place as usual.Uganda and Burundi are not capable securing Somalia. You know how long it took them to securing xamar and even if you call that securing.let talk about your little brother friend Djibouti they won't last ten hours with alshabaab that's why the united state is already scrabbling around and told him send your prime minister to kismanyo. Because Federal state will be implemented with or without your blessing but we prefer if you respected the system that elected you and made you president .

  9. Folks… Am just speculating don't take it for granted. With the strongman Miles Zenawi missing
    from the EPRDF powers, and Addis ababa hosted the AU HQS, it would be quite possible
    for Ethiopia to have second thoughts to change their warfare policies of Somalia into some
    other clandestine less hostile policies and possibly pull back all their fighting forces inside
    Somalia Soil into their borders. I think also that The Hargeisa and Addis Ababa govts should consolidate their allied political interests which would take care much desired impacted
    aspirations for both nations. With Ethiopia pulling out of Somalia Soil Militarily, would change
    all other AU military players impacts bcos of the internal conflicts of their countries.
    Simply stated, the EPRDF powers do not serve the AU HQs clandestine interests if their military offensive continues in Somalia.

  10. Irir guy,
    Please don't refer to us as Somaligalbeed. As Somali Ethiopians, the concept of Somaligalbeed was the biggest con ever perpetrated on our public. Don’t you know the gig is up. We’re DDSI and we’re proud to be so.

  11. Then the countdown of Mogadhiso adminsitration has just begun if Ethiopian army pulls out of Somalilan.
    Alshabab will return to evverywhere and will control most of the Somalia. Then Somalia's problems will be back to squre one. The resutl?

    Bugland will fee more relaxed than ever. Rape and robbery will start again, and law and order will vanish.
    Unless there will be a mindset from Hawiye themselves, Somalia's situation will even become darker than ever before

    • kuluc,

      kkkk, you wish that. your living your own planet get help mate ISAQS are very diluted folks.