Somalia says 136 Al-Shabab members killed in operation

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – The Somali government announced that a recent military operation in the Lower Shabelle region, near the capital city of Mogadishu, resulted in the deaths of 136 members of the Al-Shabaab militant organization.

During a press conference held in the capital, the Deputy Minister of Information, Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala, stated that 90 other members of the group were also wounded in the operation.

According to the minister, the operation took place in a vast jungle area between Tawakal and Garasjered, 12km west of Janale district in the Lower Shabelle region, close to the capital city of Mogadishu.

“The operation occurred in an area where the Kharijites had named Warta-Beder; the Kharijites had amassed a group of fighters numbering several hundred at that location, with the intent of launching attacks against the Somali people,” said the minister.

Among the Al-Shabaab members killed in the operation were high-ranking leaders, including Salman Dhere, responsible for the group’s coastal operations, and Moallim Salahey, who was in charge of attacks on the towns of Awdhegle, Qoryolay, and Janale. Moallim Hashi, a leader in charge of the group’s operations in the Lower Shabelle region, was also reported to have been killed.

The operation also resulted in the destruction of a significant weapons cache and vehicles used by Al-Shabab, including war vehicles and equipment for explosive devices. However, there is currently no independent confirmation of the claims made by the government.

This comes just days after the Information Minister, Daud Aweis, announced that the national army (SNA), with support from local militias, had killed 323 members of the terrorist organization Al-Shabaab over the course of seven days. 

Aweis also reported that the SNA had successfully captured the areas of Eldher, Haradhere, and Galcad in Galmudug state, which had been under the control of Al-Shabaab for over 15 years. 

A security analyst in Mogadishu emphasized the significance of these recent developments, stating, “The recent operations by the army, as well as the liberation of Haradhere, a coastal and strategic town, are significant defeats for the terrorist organization.” 

Some officials have suggested that the terrorist organization Al-Shabab is nearing its demise. However, experts have cautioned that the group has a history of regrouping and reclaiming areas after being pushed out of major towns by the army. They have warned that the military may be unable to maintain control of these areas long term.

Omar Mahmood, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group for East Africa, said that “the true test for the efforts against Al-Shabab is not in the initial offensive phase, but rather in maintaining control and stability in the aftermath.” 

He also noted that the group is currently under pressure but warned that they tend to adopt a long-term strategy.

In light of these ongoing challenges, some experts have suggested that the government replicate its cooperation with clan-based militias across the country. 

Hassan Mohamed, a former military officer, stated, “Al-Shabaab would be extinct if the government and clans were launching simultaneous attacks across the entire country.”