Somali minister says ‘troops abandoned on frontlines’
KISMAYO, Somalia - A Somali regional minister has accused the central government of abandoning troops fighting the Al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab fighters in the country’s south in what he described as an their epic battle for survival as supplies started to run out, Garowe Online reports.
The development comes weeks after Somali regional states have announced that they severed ties with the Federal government, accusing it of failing to consider calls for sharing resources with them, a move which angered the government which has since reportedly scaled back its multifaceted support for the regional states as a result.
However, the political crisis pitting between the two sides appears to be threatening to undermine the fight against Al-Shabaab, a common enemy that Somali leaders were more united than ever in fighting against.
According to Abdirashid Janan, the security minister of Jubbaland, a regional state based in Kismayo, the negative impact that the ongoing political disunity is having on the country’s security sector is more evident in the region where soldiers on the frontline fighting militants have described their terrifying ordeal than anywhere else.
Speaking to the reporters in Kismayo, the region’s provincial capital on Tuesday, Mr. Janan has noted that a sense of abandonment felt by the soldiers stationed on the front-line positions had a profound impact on their morale, alleging that they were starved of supplies and ammunition that left them unable to fight.
“We have lost 30 soldiers in the past three weeks, and the government is not aware of that at all.” He said, urging the Federal government to improve the welfare of the army to strengthen their morale.
“There should be a commitment by the Villa Somalia’s leadership to support the army, otherwise all the time, money and logistics invested in the fight against al-Shabab will in end in vain.” He warned referring to the top leadership of Somali government.
Al-Shabaab, which is fighting Somali government and African Union forces, was pushed out of most of its key strongholds across the country in recent years. But the group’s fighters still carries out suicide and guerrilla attacks across Somalia.