“flush out Al-Shabab” – Somali president tells the public

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – The President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, made an impassioned plea on Thursday for the general public to assist in the ongoing battle against the al-Shabab extremist group, which he called “bedbugs.” 

The president made this call to action during a government-organized rally held at a stadium in the capital city of Mogadishu under heavy security.

The rally was held to protest against the al-Qaeda-linked militants and saw large crowds of individuals waving flags and holding placards with anti-al-Shabab messages. 

President Mohamud urged the people of Mogadishu to “flush out” the extremist group, which he stated was hiding among them. 

“They are in your houses, your neighbors, in cars that pass you by,” he said. He also emphasized that military action alone would not be sufficient in defeating the group and that addressing their ideologies and finding ways to counter their recruitment efforts were also crucial.

Al-Shabab has been actively waging an insurgency against Somalia’s fragile internationally-backed central government for the past 15 years. 

The group has carried out attacks both within the country and in neighboring countries that have sent troops to assist in the fight against the militants. 

The president declared an “all-out” war against the militant fighters shortly after he came to office in May last year.

In recent months, the Somali army and local clan militias have retaken large areas of territory in the heart of the country with the support of US airstrikes and an African Union force. 

However, the insurgents have frequently retaliated with bloody attacks, highlighting their ability to strike at the heart of Somali cities and military installations despite the offensive. 

Although forced out of the capital Mogadishu and other main urban centers more than a decade ago, Al-Shabab remains entrenched in parts of rural central and southern Somalia.

The government of Somalia has adopted a multi-faceted approach in its efforts to combat extremist groups that threaten the stability of the UN-backed federal government. 

One key aspect of this strategy is the direct involvement of civilians in the fight against these groups.

In central and southern Somalia, residents have mobilized against al-Shabab, with the famous Macawisley militia leading the charge. The militia has been engaged in battle alongside the Somali National Army (SNA), the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), and US AFRICOM.

President Mohamud announced that over 500 militants had been eliminated through combined efforts, and several important towns in Somalia had been taken under control by the military. 

The successful operation resulted from the strong partnership between the local population and security forces, which led many militants, mainly young people, to surrender to the government. 

Prime Minister Hamza reported that approximately 2,000 Al-Shabaab fighters had been killed in military operations carried out by the Somali army, with the support of other international partners, since the conflict began four months ago.