40 Ethiopian soldiers have been killed in a pitched battle with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) fighters in Somalia’s Hiiran region.
The fighting erupted after Ethiopian troops, allied with the Somali military, started shelling the central Somali region’s Baladweyn town, a Press TV correspondent reported.
During their indiscriminate attack, the soldiers fired artillery on both the fighters and the town’s civilian population ,creating an immediate evacuation.
The UIC were said to have lost 20 fighters during the shelling.
The UIC fighters eventually seized some weaponry from the soldiers and captured the biggest checkpoint in Baladweyn’s outskirts.
The foomer US envoy to the United Nations, John Bolton, meanwhile, suggested that the soldiers not be withdrawn from Somalia and thanked them for their contributions. The soldiers’ are said to be responsible for the deaths of countless innocent Somali civilians.
Unabated violence has blighted the Horn of Africa nation since the ouster of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
The fighters enjoy strong popular support. They were removed from power in 2006 following the US-backed invasion of Ethiopian troops.