Somalia soldiers close into strategic town in offensive against Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Somali National Army [SNA] is on the verge of liberating one of the most strategic towns in Middle Shabelle, with the troops dislodging Al-Shabaab militants from some of neighborhoods surrounding the town as the war against the militants gets into the crucial phase according to security analysts.
By Saturday, sources confirmed, the Somali National Army with assistance from the local militia was moving closer to Adan Yabaal, the main town in the Middle Shabelle region still in Al-Shabaab's hands. The Al-Shabaab have been in control of the town for the last 15 years according to security forces.
Troops have reportedly seized Gulane, the home village of Hibaad Ali Dasar, the late leader of Ma’awisley, a clan-mobilized team that has been fighting alongside the Somali National Army, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], and the US Africa Command.
Experts say should the forces manage to secure the town from the hands of Al-Shabaab, then it means it will take much less time than before to liberate most areas within Middle Shabelle. The Al-Shabaab militants are synonymous with the Middle Shabelle region which they have been controlling for the last couple of months.
The Somali National Army has made significant gains in the region as Al-Shabaab continues to lose ground according to reports from the government. To fight back, the group has been waging retaliatory attacks mainly targeting innocent civilians, government officials, and security forces.
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre recently said that Somalia has managed to kill over 500 Al-Shabaab militants in various operations across the country, mostly in the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions. The PM maintained the government will continue taking Al-Shabaab head-on until the militants are defeated.
On his part, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud noted that the government will close Al-Shabaab revenue sources while warning business owners from remittances that have been sustaining the group in the last couple of years.
The Al-Shabaab militants have been fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia.