Somali-backed forces of the Western Somalia Liberation Front, fighting in the disputed Ogaden region, say they've killed more than two hundred Ethiopian troops in fierce clashes near the town of Jijiga.
Somali-backed forces of the Western Somalia Liberation Front, fighting in the disputed Ogaden region, say they've killed more than two hundred Ethiopian troops in fierce clashes near the town of Jijiga. Meanwhile, the Front have been showing Western journalists equipment they say has been captured from Ethiopian troops.
SYNOPSIS: The journalists were taken to the former Ethiopian base at Gara, which the Liberation Front's forces say was abandoned in August after bloody clashes in the area. A number of Russian T-34 tanks were said to have been destroyed in the fighting at Gara, and what was left of them was on display. The Liberation Front also claimed to have shot down a number of American-built F-5 jets of the Ethiopian airforce. On Thursday (6 October) more Ethiopian F-5s and a British-built Canberra bomber attacked a hospital in Jijiga, formerly an important Ethiopian base now held by the Front. Seven civilians were killed and at least 20 seriously injured. On the ground though, in this area the Liberation Front were clearly in control. Considerable stocks of ammunition were left behind by the Ethiopians in their fight from Gara, and this is now being used by the Front's forces.
The Ethiopians claim that Somali regular troops are fighting in the Ogaden. The Somali government have persistently denied this. They say the war is a liberation struggle being fought by the mainly Somali people of the area, who for too long have suffered under Ethiopian rule, and thousands of whom are now free. With the Liberation Front now controlling Jijiga, despite the Ethiopian air raid, and now pressing hard against the town of Harer to the West, most observers are convinced the Front's plan is to capture Harer before a strike at the industrial centre of Diredawa.