Al-Shabaab loses strategic town in Somalia in the latest offensive
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Somali National Army [SNA] has recaptured a strategic town in Somalia, the ministry of information announced on Saturday, following an epic battle between the national army and the Al-Shabaab militants in the Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan regions.
The army, which has been working closely with local militia, US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] liberated El-Dhere village which is found between the border of Hiiraan and the Middle Shabelle region, following the heavy fighting.
Abdirahman Yusuf al-Adala, the deputy information minister, said over 100 militants including 12 commanders were killed during the battle which lasted for several hours, the highest figure in as many months. The militants have been waging retaliatory attacks across the country.
The international partners have been helping the country tackle the militants who are seeking to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government, but their attempts have been futile in recent months. The group, however, controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.
A similar operation was carried out in Bulo-Madino village on Lower Shabelle where more than 60 Al-Shabaab militants were killed. Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre recently said over 500 militants have been killed since the operation started, the highest number in the history of the country.
On Friday, the army said it foiled an al-Shabaab attack on a military base in the central region of Galgadud. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been moving around the country in recent weeks urging locals to take arms against the militants, stressing the need for stability.
Hassan Sheikh, who declared total war against Al-Shabaab militants, noted that to effectively fight the group, he will focus on financiers by ensuring their activities are minimized or controlled. He warned business owners against funding the group either through extortion or willingly.