The Somali National Army (SNA) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have captured several strategic towns in southwest Somalia in a wide scale military offensive against al-Shabaab.
“In the last couple of days, SNA and AMISOM forces have regained control of Rabdhure Ted, and Hudur towns in joint operations that saw the terrorists defeated and driven out of these towns,” AMISOM said in a statement. “[On Saturday], the SNA and AMISOM forces continued their march and secured the town of Wajid and Burdhubow in the Gedo region.”
On Sunday, SNA and AMISOM also captured Wel Dheyn town in Bakol region. The joint military operation is the beginning of renewed efforts by the allied forces to push al-Shabaab out many of its strongholds across the country.
“Our military advancement will continue until we eliminate the enemy from the rest of the country,” Wajid Governor Abdulahi Yarisow told AFP.
Local residents contacted by AFP confirmed that Wajid and Hudur had been retaken by AMISOM.
“The town is empty. Al-Shabaab ordered people to leave the town before the Ethiopian and Somali troops [arrived] but the situation is quite calm now,” said local resident Abdi Hassan.
Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed lauded the ongoing joint initiative to dislodge al-Shabaab in an address on Saturday in honour of International Women’s Day.
“The ongoing military operations are aimed at rooting out al-Shabaab because they pose major threats to the Somali people in the areas under their control,” Ahmed said according to Garowe Online.
Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane issued an audio message on Sunday calling on Somalis to wage jihad against the Somali and AMISOM forces.
“Let no one stay behind in the jihad against the enemy, youth and old, scholar and a non-scholar, in tribes and as individuals,” Godane said.