On 19 July 2015, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) announced the resumption of active military offensive operations against the Al Shabaab.
This offensive, code named Operation Juba Corridor is aimed at further degrading the Al Shabaab by removing them from their strong holds in the Gedo, Bakool and Bay regions of Somalia.
Since the start of Operation Juba Corridor, which involves troops from the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) contingents of AMISOM, supporting units of the Somalia National Army (SNA), and acting in collaboration with some of our strategic partners, major towns and villages such as Taraka, Jungal, Duraned, Eel-elaan, Habakhaluul, Meyon, Magalay, Duraned and the major town of Bardhere in the Gedo region have been recovered from the Al Shabaab.
In the Bakool region, the operation has resulted in the recovery of Buur-dhuhunle, Kulun-jareer, Moragabey, Legaly and Gelewoyni while Ufurow, Eesow, Hasanow-Mumin, LIidaale, Makoon, Dhargo and Manaas have been liberated in the Bay region.
The SNA and AMISOM troops were warmly welcomed by the population in these towns and villages and at their request, the local authorities only imposed some limited curfew during the night times to facilitate the necessary clean-up exercise against Al Shabaab elements to further guarantee the security of the population.
The recovery of these villages and towns, especially Baadhere and Dinsoor, is a major boost to efforts at freeing the populations hitherto living in these areas from the tyrannical and savage rule of the Al Shabaab which has been in charge of these towns for the last seven years.
Dinsoor, which served as a main base for the leadership of the Al Shabaab since their ouster from Barawe in October 2014, will no longer be available for the Al Shabaab as a recruitment and training centre.
It is in this regard that the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud in a statement earlier this week reiterated the importance of this operation in the fight against the Al Shabaab, noting: “Let there be no doubt anymore, the fight to secure our country may be hard, but my commitment and those of our partners and the resilience of this nation has never been stronger.”
In addition to the recovery of these towns which now places them under the Somali Government control, AMISOM and SNA troops killed 72 Al Shabaab fighters, while 24 were wounded and 9 others were captured.
The Al Shabaab camps in Dolono and Elalan including an assortment of weapons and ammunition were also captured.
All of the wounded and captured Al Shabaab fighters as well as the weapons and ammunition are being handled in adherence to the African Union (AU) Standard operating Procedures for such matters.
Given the fact that this operation is being conducted in a very difficult terrain and in challenging weather, the AU Special representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Maman Sidikou commended the discipline, commitment and gallantry of all the SNA and AMISOM soldiers.
Ambassador Sidikou shares the sentiments expressed in the statement issued by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and stresses that the actions of the SNA troops in particular attests to the inherent potential of the SNA if the soldiers are well motivated and provided the requisite equipment.
During this operation, AMISOM troops have also de-mined some roads such as the roads from Baidoa through Manaas to Farnooley; Raxoole and Dinsor route; Baidoa through Barow; Qansax Dheere, Buulo bilaan, Cilaan to Bardhere as well as Bakhtiti, through Faafax duum, Tawakal to Baardhere.
These roads had been mined by the Al Shabaab in flagrant disregard of applicable international laws and protocols including the Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
AMISOM says some of the leadership of the Al Shabaab have, in a cowardly manner, fled and are most likely to be in or around the towns of Jiliib, Buale and Saakow from where they intend to continue their terrorist and inhumane acts against harmless Somali citizens.
The SNA and AMISOM will not relent in their pursuit and will seek them out from hiding.
The mission condemned Saturday’s attack on the Jazeera Hotel, a place which among others, saying it symbolizes the determination of peace loving Somalis to rebuild their country, and has come to be used for recreation by Somalis from all walks of life, amply demonstrates the demonic agenda of the Al Shabaab to want to deny Somalia the peace that is beginning, despite such unfathomable acts, to be enjoyed across the country.