Mogadishu streets opened after years of closure over Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Federal Government of Somalia has opened up streets of Mogadishu after years of closure, despite the fact that the country is still struggling to contain Al-Shabaab militants, who are said to be making inroads to the capital, which they once controlled before being driven out.
To avert frequent attacks waged by the militants, the government closed a number of streets in the capital, with some also being erected with roadblocks, which were assigned to the Somali National Army [SNA], who controls the town and are responsible for security checks.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo instructed the security teams to close some of the streets as a security measure following cases of drive shooting and bombs, and since then, the capital has been relatively calm. The attacks also inconvenienced members of the public.
But on Tuesday, the government ordered the opening of the streets, but more security forces were deployed to man than in a move aimed at protecting members of the public from Al-Shabaab attacks. The order will be implemented immediately, officials said without giving many details.
"A month ago I was among the people affected by the road closures. The people of Mogadishu do not deserve to suffer further, they must have access to health facilities, education, & I apologize for that inconvenience," said PM Roble.
While it's not clear why the government opted to open them, its however comes at the time the capital has been recording attacks in various parts of the city, mostly instigated by the Al-Shabaab. The group is said to be gaining ground at the capital, which is now considered fairly stable compared to previous years.
Elsewhere, a senior Al-Shabaab commander who was in charge of finances within Bal'ad town and his driver were sentenced by a military court on Monday. Col. Hassan Nur who is the presiding judge, slapped the two with a life sentence after being found guilty of being members of the group.
Hassan Abdi and his driver Omar Hussein have a room to, however, appeal the sentence. They were arrested and detained last year in Mogadishu by security forces, who linked them to terror activities in the country, a claim they have often denied.