NAIROBI, Kenya — Hundreds of Ethiopian troops poured into a western Somalia border town on Saturday, opening a new front against the militant group al-Shabab, which now faces hostile militaries on three sides.
Resident Mohammed Abdi said hundreds of residents fled Beledweyne on Saturday after hundreds of Ethiopian and Somali troops moved in. Capt. Hashi Nor of the Somali military confirmed that Somali and Ethiopian troops had moved in.
"I saw Ethiopian troops standing at the doors of neighboring homes. Somali soldiers are also searching the homes," Abdi said. "Al-Shabab retreated back to Bulo Burte and also many of the residents fled, and those who remained are in their homes."
The military movement appears to be a third front against al-Shabab, Somalia's strongest militant group. Kenyan troops moved into Somalia in mid-October in a push against the militants in the country's south. African Union troops from Uganda, Burundi and most recently from Djibouti have mostly pushed al-Shabab fighters out of the capital, Mogadishu.
"We are in full control of Beledweyne now and our troops will move forward in the coming hours," Nor, the Somali military officer, said by phone from Beledweyne.
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