Al-Shabaab loses strategic town to Somali army
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Al-Shabaab militants have lost a strategic town to resilient members of the Somali National Army [SNA], sources told Garowe Online, in one of the major milestones as the country pushes the militants in several frontlines ahead of the anticipated exit of African Union forces.
According to sources, the military seized Miinkeey town which is at least 40 kilometers West of Hudur, the capital of Bakool, another Al-Shabaab-prone region within the Federal Republic of Somalia. The national army is currently conducting an operation against Al-Shabaab.
During the raid, officials said, several Al-Shabaab militants were killed while others were captured alive, pending prosecution in the military court. This comes just moments after the United Nations Security Council approved an extension of the presence of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] by six months.
The council said the extension was in compliance with the request by the government of Somalia, which called for a technical pause of the withdrawal of ATMIS troops from the country. ATMIS along with the US Africa Command have been working closely with the Somali National Army.
Elsewhere, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud insists the cooperation between the federal government and member states is yielding fruits in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The president also vowed to reform the security sector to conform with the ongoing battles against the militants.
"President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud discussed the anti-al-Shabaab plan with security officers. He said the joint federal and FMS strategy would achieve the Somali people’s goal of ending al-Shabaab’s threat," state media reports.
"He pledged to reform security and thanked international partners. He also asked for public support and cooperation with the security forces," the government media added.
Since taking over, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has succeeded in taking the war to Al-Shabaab strongholds, managing to neutralize over 3,000 of them during the first phase. The second phase of the operations against Al-Shabaab is set to kick off in Jubaland and Southwest states.