Somalia: 49 Al-Shabab members ‘killed in operation’

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – Somali National Army (SNA) forces have killed 49 Al-Shabab terrorists in a planned operation in the village of Dhagahow, 20 kilometers from the Balad district in the Middle Shabelle region, according to the Ministry of Defense’s spokesman.

General Abdullahi Ali Anod said the SNA forces have also recovered weapons from the terrorists during the operation and, unfortunately, lost one of their own. 

“The forces are still pursuing remnants of the Al-Shabab terrorist group,” said the spokesman. 

The operation comes just days after another successful operation by the SNA in the Hawadley area, where they thwarted a raid on an SNA base, killing 21 terrorists and injuring many more. 

On Tuesday, Islamist fighters from Al-Shabab attacked a military base in the village of Hawadley with a suicide car bomb, followed by gunfire, resulting in the death of at least seven soldiers, including the base commander. 

The base, located about 60 km north of the Somalia capital, Mogadishu, was taken back from Al-Shabab control in October of last year by government forces and allied clan militias.

On Wednesday, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced the launch of the second phase of an offensive against the Al-Shabab militant group.

In recent months, government forces, with the aid of local citizens, have made significant gains against the Al-Shabab group, recapturing key towns in the Galmudug region and forcing the militants out of large areas of central Somalia. 

Defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur announced Tuesday that joint forces had taken El-Dher, a town under the group’s control for over a decade. 

The town, located 291 kilometers from the capital, Mogadishu, is a historical town bordering Harardhere in the Mudug region and close to the Elbur district.

The President also announced that the first phase of the operation in HirShabelle and Galmudug states is nearing completion and that the government has prepared many troops to liberate Al-Shabab-controlled areas in the country. 

He also announced that the next step in the operation to defeat the Al-Shabab group and free the country would launch in the South West region of Somalia.

Over the past eleven years, substantial resources have been expended to defeat Al-Shabab. Multiple countries, including the United States, have invested significant aid to build a Somali government that is capable of governing its people, investing heavily in the Somali National Army, police, and other parts of the security sector.

In addition to training, advising, and even conducting joint operations, the United States has conducted an air campaign, launching strikes like the one that killed Al-Shabab’s leader in 2014.  

The airstrikes have expanded and accelerated over the past year, striking Al-Shabab’s training facilities, elements of the group involved in attacking the capital, and other targets.