Suspected KDF airstrike in Somalia destroys Telecom infrastructure

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - A suspected Kenya Defence Forces [KDF] airstrike destroyed an important infrastructure for the Hormuud Telecom company in southern Somalia, and none of its staff was affected. 

The Friday night airstrike targeted Al-Shabaab-controlled Saakow town within the Middle Jubba region. As a result, the company estimates that thousands of local residents were left without the network essential to their daily lives.

In a statement, Hormuud Telecom confirmed the airstrike while insisting that it has caused emotional damage to the staff and the local community. The company, it added, is working around the clock to restore services in the affected area.

"Last night on Friday, June 16, 2023, our site in the city of Saakow in the middle Juba region was damaged by an air strike incident," read the statement. "There are reported human casualties but no Hormuud staff member was physically harmed, nevertheless the disruption of telecommunications services, destruction of property, and emotional distress for local communities and our team has been significant."

"Since the attack, our engineering teams have been working tirelessly to minimize disruption to our vital communications and mobile money services. As a result, we estimate that thousands of local residents were left without the network essential to their daily lives. We are working round-the-clock to resume full services," it added. 

Although KDF has not confirmed the airstrike, it however comes amid increased Al-Shabaab activities within Northeastern Kenya which is within the border of Kenya and Somalia. Recently, Kenya agreed to open the border with Somalia in three phases, but the attacks in the country could jeopardize the arrangements. 

Within the last seven days, Al-Shabaab militants have attacked northeastern Kenya, targeting Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa counties. According to records, the militants have killed about eight security forces, including members of the KDF who have been engaging the militants for a long. 

 Hormuud connects thousands of people in the Horn of Africa nation and the attack could raise questions about Somalia’s government's strategy to control private investors. 

Kenya has already built 14 Forward Operating Bases along the Kenya-Somalia border to assist in facilitating operations by security forces.

The leading Hormuud Telecom has previously lost several offices destroyed in such attacks in the country, where AU, US, and local forces are battling Al-Shabaab for over a decade.

In July last year, an airstrike struck and razed down a Hormuud Telecom center in Jilib town in the same Middle Jubba region, leaving 31 BTS to cease functioning. 

GAROWE ONLINE

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