Somali National Army (SNA) which is reportedly supported by local militia dubbed Ma’awisley killed more than 100 al-Shabab militants and liberated over 20 villages during security operations carried out in two regional states on Sunday, the government has disclosed.
The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism said the operations were conducted in Galmudug, Hirshabelle and South-West States.
“The terror group has been using these towns as strongholds for organising their terrorist attacks with explosives and suicide bombers on different parts of Somalia,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said the militants have caused atrocities on the local civilians whom they have kidnapped and killed, with their properties destroyed.
The government expressed its commitment to flushing out the al-Shabab militant group, which is a threat to Somali people, from its strongholds.
“The terror group has over a decade committed cruel atrocities against civilians population in the town they’ve controlled,” the ministry said.
The group which is fighting to topple the government has been facing enormous pressure and an offensive from government forces backed by the local militia that seek to flush them out from the Hiran region of central Somalia.
Al-Shabab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 but the terror group is still capable of conducting attacks, targeting government installations, hotels, restaurants, and public places.
In another report, in a daring move, Somalia’s new government has appointed a former al-Shabab militant, who was once involved in fighting against the authorities into the cabinet, but the weekend’s deadly hotel siege is a reminder of the tough task for those in power.
Africa Daily News, New York recalls that back in May when Somalia’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office, he had declared that a top priority was bringing an end to the country’s 15-year Islamist insurgency.
Three months down the line, al-Shabab staged one of its most spectacular ever attacks, storming a hotel a short drive away from the presidential palace in the capital, Mogadishu.