Hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers have been spotted crossing the border town of Dolow into Somalia carrying heavy artillery.
Residents of the town in the Gedo region told VOA Somali that at least 30 vehicles carrying about a thousand heavily armed soldiers crossed the border on Tuesday.
They are believed to be Ethiopia’s promised reinforcement for the renewed offensive against the jihadist group al Shabaab which is seeking to topple the western-backed government and impose its strict version of the Sharia law.
The group has killed thousands of civilians and soldiers through car and suicide bombings. The deadliest attack on October 14 killed at least 400 people when a truck carrying explosives was detonated at a busy junction in Mogadishu.
Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed sought support from neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti to increase the offensive against the group.
Uganda has the highest contribution of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and it promised to add more. Ethiopia and Djibouti made the same promises.
Somalia had appealed to the international community to lift the arms embargo imposed on it by the United Nations 25 years ago.
This has limited its soldiers from a swift offensive as they only carry light weapons to fight al Shabaab.
The jihadist group is still attacking as at least two bombings were recorded after the deadliest October 14 bomb blast.