Somalia army makes strategic advances in Al-Shabaab war


MOGADISHU, Somalia - Government forces have made strategic advances in an ongoing crackdown against Al-Shabaab militants, following the latest strategic advances made towards Elbur town, with the capturing of Dac village which is 18 KMs southwest of the country, giving a clear indication perhaps of impending victory.

Already, the Somali soldiers have captured Oswein, Wabxo, War Xoolo, Dac, and several other smaller villages, which are deemed strategic in the Al-Shabaab war. On Saturday, heavy clashes erupted in Oswein village, but the government forces have since repulsed the dawn attack.

Last week on Wednesday, the elite Danab Special Forces clashed with Al-Shabaab militants near Gobagaal, west of Wabxo as they pushed forward towards Dac which is a village but had strategic importance to al-Shabaab as it located a juncture between Wabo and Elbur and between Ceel Dheere and Derri, Voice of America reports.

According to Somali officials, the special forces have already overpowered the militants, in what could be the beginning of the fall of the notorious group. A Somali government official told VOA the militants have been taking the residents “hostage” by ordering them to vacate the towns before government troops arrive.

Insiders believe capturing Elbur without significant resistance could also mean that the militants may have surrendered in large numbers or retreated further to avoid incurring losses. The Al-Shabaab militants have been losing significant territories in recent weeks.

Analysts believe that without encountering tangible resistance from Al-Shabaab, the militants withdrawing towns and villagers and saving themselves to fight the war they have been fighting for the past 12 years - retreat into the bush, stretch government forces and supplies, besiege, and then launch complex raids and ambushes.

The government commanders said they are better prepared this time. Time will tell if that is the case, Voice of America adds. The group usually retreats before waging complex attacks, and this could inform their strategy to regulate responses to military attacks across the Horn of Africa nation.

Government troops can succeed if they do not rest and follow the militants into the valleys and countryside. They will succeed if they carry out intel-led operations that target hideouts, supplies, and deny them the opportunity to rest and gather, analysts say. A major component of this operation will be air support, and the government has options to utilise effectively.

In the near future, the government will launch the second phase of operations against the Al-Shabaab group, which will target Jubaland and Southwest states. The soldiers have been preparing for the second and perhaps the final assault, which could liberate the country from the jaws of the militants.


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