Somalia Defence Minister: Get ready for second phase of war on Al-Shabaab

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Somali National Army [SNA] will kick off the exercise of pursuing Al-Shabaab militants across the country in due course, with the international partners set to play a crucial role as they push for stabilization of the Horn of Africa nation, which is facing a myriad of challenges. 

Currently, most members of the Somali National Army are in central Somalia where they are combing the region after a successful first phase of operations which left over 3,000 militants dead. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has personally been supervising the exercise.

Abdikadir Mohamed Nur, the minister for defense, announced that the second phase of operations against the Al-Shabaab will kick off soon, noting that Southwest and Jubaland states will be the target. The operation has been dubbed Black Lion Mission. 

"The Defense Minister, Mohamed Nur,  visited the National Armed Forces near Hudur in Bakool region. He told the soldiers to get ready for a mission to wipe out the terrorists in the area," the state media reported. 

Soldiers who recently trained in Eritrea, Uganda, and Ethiopia are lined up to join those on the frontlines, just weeks after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud requested a technical pause of the withdrawal of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] troops.

The African Union has already agreed to pause the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS troops who were supposed to leave by the end of September 2023. ATMIS plans to completely withdraw from Somalia by the end of December 2024, upon which they will hand over security responsibilities to the federal government of Somalia.

Elsewhere security forces killed two al-Shabaab fighters in a raid near Baidoa, the capital of Bay region, on Sunday. The forces also seized a motorcycle and an assault rifle from the militants’ hideout in Saydhelow, 35 kilometers east of Baidoa, state media reports.

Al-Shabaab militants have lost significant territories in the last 12 months after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared total war against them. But despite significant progress made in the battle, Al-Shabaab still manages to wage spontaneous attacks against security forces and innocent civilians. 

GAROWE ONLINE

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