Somalia's army gains ground from Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia - With the help of local militia, the Somali National Army [SNA] has continued to gain more ground against Al-Shabaab militants, in what could eventually help the country secure more strategic towns in the Horn of Africa nation, which is battling against instability.
Top military officials said the soldiers alongside local militia had made substantive gains in the Hiiraan region, which has been under Al-Shabaab. A joint operation bringing together the Somali National Army, the US Africa Command, and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] is being undertaken in the region.
According to multiple sources, the forces have since taken over Butaale, Kukeyle, Habeenno iyo Diiro villages under the Yasooman settlement. These are some of the regions that were under the Al-Shabaab militants in the last couple of months according to official records.
“Al-Shabab militants fled before the arrival of forces and continue losing more grounds in the center of the nation,” an army source told SONNA, the state media which has been reporting about the progress made by the national army.
So far, over 40 villages have been liberated from Al-Shabaab in the last month following combined efforts by the military and local residents. The residents had gotten "tired" of Al-Shabaab antics and decided to take arms against the group.
This nationwide military campaign then spread into the neighboring regions of Galguduud, further northeast, and Bay, to the southwest of Hiraan. The regions are considered strategic by the national army which is calling on more locals to go in the fight against the Al-Shabaab militants.
In the Banadir region which hosts the capital Mogadishu, security forces the capital dismantled a terror network, confiscated several vehicles belonging to culprits, and five residential houses rented by militants.
Banadir region and Mogadishu mayor Yusuf Hussein Jimale at a media briefing said gains were achieved in recent weeks following an extensive sweep. This comes just hours after Banadir police Commander Brigadier Farhan Qarole was killed by the terrorists.
“The operations shall continue until to wipe all extremists out across the capital city and the whole nation,” he added, noting that there is nothing that will stop the military from liberating most strategic towns in the Horn of Africa nation.
After being defeated on the battlefield, Al-Shabaab carried out a complex attack in Beledweyne city, the capital of the Hiran region on Monday, killing at least 20 people, including the regional health minister.