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Sheikh Abdiweli Farah, an ASWJ official in Balanbale, told Somalia Report, "Our forces engaged with ONLF forces, and with God's grace, we forced them to retreat and go back to their bases in the jungle. We are increasing security in the villages and deploying more forces," he added.
ONLF militia have been crossing over the border from Ethiopia into the Galgugud region in Somalia over recent weeks and attacking villages belonging to the ASWJ. ONLF fighters are angered by the ASWJ's closeness to the Ethiopian regime, from which they are seeking independence.
Sheikh Abdiweli told Somalia Report that ASWJ forces killed five ONLF militia and injured six others, while he claimed ASWJ had lost three dead and four injured. He also said that the injured were immediately taken to Balanbale for treatment.
Suudi Abdullahi Fadhigaradle, a resident of Fadhigaradle, told Somalia Report, “The fighting went on for almost two hours and both sides were using heavy guns, but finally the ONLF were overcome and they returned to Ethiopia, where they came from. Whenever they cross into Somalia, they brutalize and torture the residents, they indiscriminately fire on civilians and take food and water forcibly. If the skirmishes continue and ASWJ forces do not restore the peace of the villages near the border of Somalia and Ethiopia, we believe the fighting will spread in the region," added Suudi.
ONLF officials were not availabe for comment. The ONLF represent ethnically Somali pastoral people living in the Ogaden region within Ethiopia, who seek independence from the Ethiopian regime, and resent the tacit support of ASWJ by allowing Ethiopian troops into the area, as part of the fight against al-Shabaab.