Battle of Bandiradley

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Battle of Bandiradley
Part of the War in Somalia (2006–2009)
Battle-of-bandiradley-12262006.svg
(click to expand)
Date December 23–25, 2006
Location Bandiradley, Somalia
Result Ethiopian/Puntland victory
Belligerents
Flag of the Islamic Courts Union crossed swords.svg Islamic Courts Union  Ethiopia
 Puntland
Commanders and leaders
Mohamed Mohamud Agaweine[1] Puntland: Gen. Adde Musa
Abdulrahman Said Dhegaweyne
Warlord Col. Abdi Qeybdid
Strength
N/A 500+
Casualties and losses
N/A 1 helicopter gunship

The Battle of Bandiradley in Somalia began on December 23, 2006, when Puntland and Ethiopian forces, along with faction leader Abdi Qeybdid, fought Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militants defending Bandiradley. The fighting pushed the Islamists out of Bandiradley and over the border south into Adado district, Galgadud region, by December 25.

Background[edit]

Somali Civil War[edit]

The battle has roots in the long-standing Somali Civil War. The areas of Galgudud and Mudug were drawn into the conflict arising between the state of Puntland, and the areas coming under the control of the ICU. While local leaders tried to organize into the autonomous state of Galmudug, over time it was forced to side with the forces of Puntland and Ethiopia in order to repel the ICU.

Prior Ethiopian interventions in the area[edit]

The borders of Galgadud and Mudug regions were under dispute with Ethiopia following the August 1982 border clashes. The towns of Balanbale and Goldogob had been under Ethiopian occupation from that time up until June 1988 when all troops were to pull back 9 miles from the disputed borders, and Ethiopia granted back the towns to Somalia.[2]

On March 7–8, 1999, Ethiopia claimed it had made a cross-border incursion into Ballanballe searching for members of Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI) who had reportedly kidnapped a person and stolen medical supplies, and denied reports of looting. Allegations from that time also claim Ethiopia was the supplier of various Somali warlords, while Eritrea was arming other warlords.[3][4]

Prelude to battle[edit]

On August 14, 2006, local tribal leaders opposed to the advance of the ICU, as well as wishing autonomy from the state of Puntland, organized Ethio-Puntland Militias and put Abdi Qeybdid in charge of them. [5]

On November 12, the ICU took the town of Bandiradley after a firefight with the forces of Abdi Qeybdid.[6]

On November 13, the President of Puntland, General Adde Musa personally led 50 battlewagons to Galkayo to confront the Islamists.[7]

On November 22, Ethiopia imposed a curfew on the town of Ballanballe and was searching residents entering or leaving the village in response to attacks on Ethiopian convoys in Somalia[8]

On November 26, thousands of ICU troops were reported deploying in Abudwaq, within 15 km (9.3 mi) of the Ethiopian border.[1] On November 27, troops were forcibly returning people who had fled to avoid fighting to their homes, reassuring them they would not come to harm.[9]

On November 28, Ethiopian forces in the Galkayo, Mudug area were estimated to be about 500-strong, with over 100 vehicles including tanks. There was an exchange of gunfire and missiles. Afterwards, the ICU held a rally in Bandiradley, at which ICU commander Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed accused the Ethiopians of firing 12 missiles at Islamist positions.[10]

On December 1, in Galkayo, it was reported 9 clerics of the Islamic Tabliq sect had been arrested under the orders of Colonel Abdi Qeybdiid.[11]

On December 7–8, the militia of warlord Abdi Qeybdid took part in skirmishes against forces of the ICU near the small settlement of Sadah Higle between Bandiradley and Galkayo.[12] This rapidly led to an exchange of shelling between Ethiopian and ICU troops. Hundreds of Ethiopian troops accompanied by forces from Puntland took up position near the town. Puntland forces claimed they had been provoked by rocket and mortar fire. ICU forces stated Ethiopian troops "started firing missiles toward our positions." At least one ICU fighter was claimed killed in the exchange.[13][14]

On December 16, it was reported a local Islamic court named Imamu Shahfici was set up in Abudwaq. It urged Islamists to resist the Ethiopians[15]

Further combat was kept in abeyance until the general outbreak of hostilities on December 20.

On December 19, 18 technicals and a large number of Ethiopian troops entered Ballanballe, Galgadud province, to reinforce troops already positioned in the town.[16] Just prior to the battle, on December 22, Ethiopian troops departed Ballanballe where they had been in occupation for the past three months. This was reportedly done at the urging of the tribal elders, who did not wish fighting to break out between the ICU and Ethiopia in their town.[17]

Battle[edit]

On December 22, Ethiopian troops were said to be amassing in Galkayo for what might turn into a second front of the war near Puntland.[18] The following day, 500 Ethiopian troops and 8 tanks were reported to be heading towards Bandiradley.[19] Islamist fighters retreated from their positions. They were pursued south to the area between Galinsoor and Bandiradley, where the Islamists were defeated.[20] The ICU forces were further pursued to Adado in Galgadud, which they abandoned late on December 25, 2006.

Aftermath[edit]

The ICU abandoned the towns of Dhuusamareb[21] and Abudwaq without fighting. In the wake of their withdrawal from Abudwaq, militias set up checkpoints and began firing their weapons.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Somali Islamists deploys troops near Ethiopian border Sudan Times
  2. ^ Somalia cedes, Eritrea fights Financial Journalist
  3. ^ ETHIOPIA-SOMALIA: Ethiopia denies looting Somali border town IRIN
  4. ^ Somalia - Emerging Third Front in the Ethiopia-Eritrea War?[permanent dead link] Stratfor
  5. ^ Somalia's Conflict Enters a Phase of Duress BY Michael A. Weinstein Archived November 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. PINR
  6. ^ Somalia in mid-November: Sparring and Waiting for Someone to Strike Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. PINR
  7. ^ Somalia: Puntland president deploys 50 battlewagons in Galkayo to avert Islamist fighters Shabelle Media Network
  8. ^ Ethiopian troops impose curfew on a Somali town Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Somalia: Islamic Courts send displaced people back to Abudwaq SomaliSpot
  10. ^ Somalia: Troop movements in Mudug region[permanent dead link] Garowe Online
  11. ^ Somalia: Islamist preachers arrested in Galkaayo city SomaliSpot
  12. ^ Somalia: Islamist fighters and Ethiopian backed militias clash in Bandiradley Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Shabelle Media Network
  13. ^ Battle rages between ICU fighters-Ethiopian backed militia in central Somalia SomaliSpot
  14. ^ Fresh fighting erupts in Somalia Al Jezeera
  15. ^ Somalia’s Islamists in central Somalia urge people to fight with Ethiopia Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Shabelle Media Network
  16. ^ Fresh Ethiopian troops enter Somalia’s Ballanballe area SomaliSpot
  17. ^ Somalia: Ethiopian troops leave Ballanballe Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Shabelle Media Network
  18. ^ Ethiopian tanks roll towards battlefront[permanent dead link] Reuters
  19. ^ Ethiopia edges closer to Somalia invasion Archived January 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. The Independent
  20. ^ Somalia: Islamist militia pushed further south of Puntland[permanent dead link] Garowe Online
  21. ^ Ethiopian troops returning warlords to power in Somalia Archived January 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Garowe Online
  22. ^ Somalia: Insecurity rages in Islamist abandoned areas Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Shabelle Media Networks