Fierce fighting erupted in parts of southern Somalia on Tuesday, as Ethiopian forces traveling along a key road were ambushed different times by Islamist guerrillas, Radio Garowe reported.
The fighting was concentrated in Lower Shabelle region, with locals near the Baledogle airstrip reporting of “heavy bombardment” and “many casualties.”
At least 10 people including civilian bystanders, Ethiopian soldiers and insurgents have been reported dead so far and many more wounded.
Ethiopian troop reinforcements were dispatched from Baidoa and Afgoye towns, with emerging reports indicating that an Ethiopian convoy was ambushed separately in Burhakaba district, in Bay region where Baidoa is located.
An Ethiopian army truck hit a landmine and exploded in Burhakaba, according to local sources.
The ambushed force was traveling on the road that links the capital Mogadishu to Baidoa, where the country’s federal parliament is based.
Islamist fighters have waged a relentless guerrilla war since early 2007, when the Ethiopian army helped install the Somali government in Mogadishu.
In June, the government and its Islamist opposition signed a peace agreement but violence continues to rage in the country.