El-Dher (Caasimada Online) – Somali government forces and local allied militias have made significant gains in their ongoing offensive against the Al-Shabab militant group, recapturing another key town in the Galmudug region.
Defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur announced Tuesday that the joint forces had taken El-Dher, a town under the group’s control for over a decade.
The town, located 291 km from the capital Mogadishu, is a historical town bordering Harardhere in the Mudug region and close to the Elbur district.
This news comes after the government forces captured the coastal town of Harardhere on Monday, which the Al-Shabaab had held for over a decade.
The militants fled the city without putting up a fight, leading Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre to declare it a “historic victory.” He stated that the national armed forces had “destroyed the enemy of the nation and liberated the strategic port town of Haradhere.”
The town, located 500 km northeast of Mogadishu, was seized by Al-Shabab in 2010.
In recent months, the Somali army and local clan militias have retaken large chunks of territory in Galmudug and HirShabelle states with the support of US airstrikes.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared “all-out war” on the group after taking office in May last year.
At an anti-Al-Shabab rally last Thursday, he urged residents to rise against the Islamist militants, likening them to “bedbugs.”
Despite these gains, Al-Shabab continues to control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia and remains a significant threat to the country.
On Tuesday, the militant group allied with Al-Qaeda launched a deadly raid on a military base in Hawadley, a town located north of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The attack came just a day after the Somali government declared a “historic victory” over the group with the capture of the coastal town.
There are varying reports on the number of casualties, with the head of the army saying that five soldiers, including a high-ranking officer, were killed. In contrast, a local militia commander reported 11 deaths.
The militants began the attack by detonating a car bomb outside the base, followed by an armed assault on the compound. The group has claimed responsibility for the raid.