AU troops in Somalia shell Al-Shabaab hideouts
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] has started shelling Al-Shabaab hideouts in central Somalia, in the latest activation in the frontline, with the government of Somalia also working around the clock to liberate some of the remaining regions from the militants.
According to sources, ATMIS soldiers fired at the eastern bank of the Shabelle River, targeting the militant hideouts in Ciid Ciidka Cali Fooldheere. The Somali National Army [SNA] and local militia had been planning to attack the militants at the village for the last two weeks, sources added.
A number of eyewitnesses told VOA that there is a real fear among the locals that al-Shabaab fighters could spread to other areas in the eastern bank if all efforts fail. It is in this region Al-Shabaab hides before planning to carry out large-scale sporadic retaliatory attacks against security forces.
Some sources claim the decision by ATMIS came at the time federal government forces and local Ma’awisley fighters failed to remove al-Shabaab from the village. The local militia started preparing to wage a fight against Al-Shabaab recently weeks after abandoning the frontlines.
A fortnight ago, intense activities were reported in the vicinity of Cali Fooldheere as local Ma’awisley fighters and some government troops mobilized to have another go at al-Shabaab militants stationed in Ciid Ciidka, a strategic village along the banks of River Shabelle.
Before this mobilization was activated, at least one soldier was killed in an IED explosion in the area. Regional officials are now pushing for a quick positive outcome - which will mean pushing the militants back onto the west side of the river. A helicopter was sighted in the sky targeting the militants.
The Al-Shabaab is fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government, which has been struggling to stamp authority. Al-Shabaab militants have, however, lost substantive grounds since the government kicked off operations against the group across the Federal Republic of Somalia.