Al-Shabaab commanders arrested in Somalia as Farmajo meets security chiefs


GALKAYO, Somalia - A number of top Al-Shabaab commanders were on Sunday arrested in Central Somalia, officials said, in what could be a major milestone in the fight against the Al-Qaida linked group, which is wreaking havoc in Central and Southern Somalia.

Galmudug Security Minister Ahmed Moalim Fiqi and Mudug Governor Abdiladif Muse Nur, jointly said that the security forces of the two states have arrested senior Al-Shabaab members, but they did not reveal their details.

In recent months, Mudug have been greatly affected in the Al-Shabaab war, with the militants targeting senior members of security forces, government officials, and to some extent, innocent civilians. A number of people have been killed.

According to the officials, those arrested were the head of security of Al-Shabaab in the Mudug region, the head of finance of Al-Shabaab in the Mudug region, and other officials in the movement. The team is now being processed for trial, the officials added.

On Sunday, Farmajo got a briefing from SNA and AMISOM chiefs on Al-Shabab attacks on army Forward Operating bases in Awdhegle and Barire, Lower Shaballe on April 3rd which killed dozens of soldiers. This comes as the outgoing leader faces pressure over his illegal term extension.

Among those present were Chief of Defense Forces General Yusuf Rageh Odowaa, who has been in the frontline in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The president thanked the forces for their commitment to the fight against Al-Shabaab just before he left for DR Congo.

"President Farmajo salutes our Somali Armed Forces for victorious operations recently terming it a proof of bravery to protect our nation and citizens as he hosts our Defense Minister, Somali National Army CoD General Odowa Yusuf and AMISOM Force Commander Lt-Gen Diomede Ndegeye," the Ministry of Defense said.

Elsewhere, Puntland and Galmudug have signed an agreement to fight Al-Shabaab, to free Bacadweyne in Hobyo district from Al-Shabaab, to share intelligence and investigate Al-Shabaab jointly. The two states agreed to set aside political differences which have triggered the current political stalemate.

While Puntland is pushing for structured dialogue in Somalia, Galmadug has on the other hand supported Farmajo's term extension. The international community has since asked all stakeholders to return to the negotiating table for the sake of stability.


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