Somalia: Al-Shabaab imposes blockades on Baidoa
BAIDOA, Somalia - The Al-Shabaab militants have resorted to the imposition of blockades on civilians in Baidoa, the interim capital of Southwest state, causing a total breakdown of businesses, besides attracting condemnation from the local community.
Somalia's government has been pushing to eliminate Al-Shabaab militants across the country, with the national army launching the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab, which will target southwest and Jubaland states, which have been struggling with violent extremism.
The second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab will target most parts of Lower and Middle Jubba besides the Bay region of Southwest. The Al-Shabaab militants have lost a number of strategic positions in the country following concerted efforts from members of security forces.
Hussein Sheikh Mohamud, Villa Somalia's Chief of Staff, condemned the current situation in Baidoa, arguing that there is a need for the locals to rise up against Al-Shabaab. The officer also expressed optimism that Al-Shabaab militants will be defeated in the ongoing uprising.
"I share the pain with the people of Baidoa City and the entire Somali citizens who are subject to the brutal blockade of Al-Shabab. Ostensibly, the group is in an all-out war against the great people of Somalia and this is a testament that the FGS-led efforts are pushing the group to extinction," he said.
"I urge the great people of our country to unite against this barbaric group as the FGS ensures the acceleration of the ongoing military operations against the Al-Shabab and liberates those who are under their ruthless rule. United we can defeat this group."
The group has upscaled attacks against security forces in recent weeks, but the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] troops, US Africa Command, and local militia have effectively supported the national army in pushing them out of the vicinity.
Al-Shabaab has been fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia, but the group has lost significant territories to the army. Somalia has been fighting for stability in the last three decades following the civil war and the Al-Shabaab uprising.