Presidents: We We'll jointly help Somalia to destroy Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Shabaab militants may have a difficult time restoring their territories in central and southern regions of Somalia, following Wednesday's agreement involving the Horn of Africa nation and leaders of frontline countries, key among them Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, which hosts US Africa Command.
Wednesday's summit of the frontline nations comes at the time Somalia is leading sustained operations across the country, leading to the liberation of several strategic towns. In the process, authorities in Somalia said, over 500 Al-Shabaab militants have been killed within the period of six months.
The joint statement released by the teams highlighted the commitment of the regional states to help the country defeat Al-Shabaab within the shortest period possible. Somalia believes the militants can be overpowered within the next 24 months should the frontline countries fully immerse themselves in the fight.
"We agreed to make the final push for joint operations in the areas that remain under the terrorists to completely liberate the whole of Somalia from al Shabaab," the statement read. The leadership asked International partners to help stabilize areas that have been liberated by the army.
"This will facilitate the federal government to enhance its service delivery and extend its authority," the statement read.
They also commended the advancement made on developing capabilities in managing weapons and ammunitions regime, endorsing Somalia's quest to completely lift the arms embargo by the end of 2o23.
"We also emphasize the importance of establishing a joint border security mechanism that intends to eliminate cross-border terrorism activities and ensures legal passage of trade and movement," they said.
Present were the host President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Ismail Omar Guelleh [Djibouti], William Ruto [Kenya], and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who jointly agreed to " search and destroy" Al-Shabaab militants from their hideouts. While Ethiopia has managed to block the militants from crossing over, Kenya has borne the brunt of the group's activities across the border.
The Frontline states endorsed Somalia’s quest to completely lift the arms embargo by the end of 2023 besides welcoming a request by Somalia to obtain both lethal and non-lethal support to equip the newly-generated SNAForce units and to enhance capabilities of current SNA units.
Somalia is also sending troops abroad for advanced training, a move geared towards preparing them for security responsibilities after the exit of the peacekeeping mission in the country. Already, 6,000 soldiers have been dispatched to Eritrea and Uganda for the training, and another group will be going to Ethiopia and Egypt, a senior advisor said.