The Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Federal Armed Forces (ENDF), Major General Tesfaye Ayalew, traveled to Somalia on Aug. 4, visiting Baidoa, while the head of military intelligence Birhanu Bekele concurrently traveled to Somaliland, and a third delegation went to Jubaland. It is unclear if and how the mission was coordinated with the Somali government (https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/ethiopian-army-generals-in-somalia-after-cross-border-al-shabaab-attacks).
The purpose of General Tesfaye Ayalew’s trip is to strengthen with his Somali counterparts the coordination of the fight against al Shabaab formations, following last weeks’ incursions beyond Ethiopia’s borders (https://addisstandard.com/news-ethiopian-army-generals-jet-off-to-baidoa-jubaland-somaliland-cross-border-security-al-shabaab-threat-top-agenda/), and to verify the state of regional security together with the commands of Ethiopian units in the country.
The ENDF military delegation met in Baidoa with the leadership of the third military sector of ATMIS, led by Brigadier General Zewdu Setargie, inquiring about the status of ongoing operations and the assessment of the operational capability of al Shabaab militias in the region, later staying with some local Somali officials (https://www.fanabc.com/english/maj-gen-tesfaye-ayalew-south-west-state-of-somalia-officials-discuss-peace-security-cooperation/).
General Tesfaye Ayalew had also traveled to Somalia two days earlier, on August 2, in Beledweyne, where he and Somali Special Forces commander Mohamed Ahmed had conducted a number of meetings to verify al Shabaab’s operational capability in central Somalia (https://addisstandard.com/news-ethiopia-defense-forces-somali-state-special-forces-senior-delegation-in-beledweyne-central-somalia/).
A concurrent mission was organized in the federal state of Jubaland, where the delegation met with Vice President Mohamud Sayid Aden, with whom they participated in a meeting where General Lucas Kuto, commander of the Sixth Sector, and Lieutenant Colonel Sintayehu Leta, deputy commander of the 5th Motorized Battalion and Jubaland security chief, also attended.
During the meeting, General Lucas Kuto stressed that it is of paramount importance to prevent al Shabaab from obtaining explosives and detonators, with which they carry out continuous attacks that pose the main element of risk to military units engaged in the area. General Kuto also added how it is necessary to prevent al Shabaab from operating from the border areas of Dolo and Moyale, which represent for the jihadists the main logistical platform for their incursions into Ethiopian territory.
An initial mission had been organized on Aug. 2 in Somaliland, led by military intelligence chief Birhanu Bekele, who was received by the country’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff and senior government officials and then held talks with the president.