At least 49 Al-Shabab terrorists have been killed in a military operation in the Lower Shabelle region, Somalia’s government has said, as security forces pushed ahead in a months-long campaign aimed at seizing territory long held by the group. The government has said that the operation is making progress and that it is committed to liberating all parts of the country from Al-Shabab. The group has been responsible for a number of attacks in Somalia and elsewhere in the region, and is seen as a threat to stability in the area.
Somalia’s special forces, together with its intelligence agency and “international security partners”, destroyed a number of military vehicles and a weapons dump in Bulo-Madino village in Lower Shabelle region on Tuesday evening, the ministry of information said in a statement on Wednesday.
Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda franchise which controls large swathes of the country, claimed responsibility for two car bombs that killed at least 120 people in capital Mogadishu in October. This act of terrorism has sent shockwaves through the country, with many people left wondering how to keep themselves safe. The government has increased security in the capital and is working to track down those responsible for the bombings, but many Somalis are still living in fear.
Somalia is facing a widespread famine, caused in part by restrictions placed on international aid by the country’s Militia. The drought that has affected Somalia for the past four decades has left many people without access to food or clean water, and the Militia’s restrictions on aid have made the situation even worse. Officials are urging the international community to provide more assistance to Somalia, in order to prevent the country from descending into complete chaos.
The Somalia government forces, supported by clan militias and African Union troops, have succeeded in making a number of battlefield gains against Al Shabab in the last three months. This has put considerable pressure on the terrorist group, and they have been forced to abandon a number of key positions. However, Al Shabab remains a potent force in Somalia, and the government forces will need to sustain their momentum if they are to make lasting progress against the group.
Fight against terror
Four residents of Afgoye district, around 25 km north-west of Mogadishu, said they heard large explosions on Tuesday evening. One of the residents, who did not want to be named, said the explosions were so loud that they shook the ground. The resident added that they were not aware of the village’s location or of the number of casualties.
“Last night, the whole earth shook. We heard two huge air strikes,” said Ali Farah, a local bus driver.
The U.S. military has conducted several air strikes against the Al Shabab militant group in Somalia this year, but it said it was not involved in a deadly raid on Tuesday. The raid, which killed at least six people, was carried out by Somali forces backed by American counterterror advisers.
The Al Shabab, which is affiliated with al Qaeda, has been waging a bloody insurgency in Somalia for more than a decade. The group is responsible for numerous suicide bombings and other attacks in Somalia and neighboring countries. In recent years, it has increasingly targetedKenya, where many of its members come from.
The United States has been working with Somali forces in an effort to try to combat the Al Shabab militant group. Al Shabab has been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks in Somalia and the surrounding region, and the U.S. has been working with Somali forces to try to stop them. The U.S. has also been providing humanitarian aid to the people of Somalia, who have been affected by the conflict.
Since launching a major offensive against the Al Shabab militant group in early March, the Somali government has made significant progress in weakening the insurgents. To date, government forces have killed more than 600 militants, injured 1,200 others, and recaptured 68 settlements.
The offensive is part of the government’s wider “military, economic and ideological” war on the insurgents. According to Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, the goal is to “defeat Al Shabab and restore Somalia’s stability and sovereignty.”
The government’s efforts have been aided by increased support from the international community, including the United States. In May, the U.S. announced it would nearly double its military assistance to Somalia.