Somalia: Al-Shabaab faces defeat as local militia triumph
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The local militia in central Somalia made major gains on Tuesday following a fierce encounter with the Al-Shabaab militants, who have been targeting security officers, senior government officials, and innocent civilians, causing huge damage in the process.
At Bulacle in the Galgaduud region, local militia managed to kill three Al-Shabaab militants, the government confirmed, adding that another fighter was captured alive. The three died while trying to exchange gunfire with the organized local fighters who had resumed operations in Somalia.
Reports from Galgaduud confirmed that a total of eight Al-Shabaab fighters engaged in the battle, with four others managing to escape with serious wounds. They also displayed an AK47 rifle and a motorbike seized from the militants during the operation.
Dhusamareb Governor Moalim Abdirahman Geedagorow was among senior government officials who visited the scene, where they encouraged the local community to take arms against the militants. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has repeatedly asked locals to join the war.
The first phase of operations against Al-Shabaab succeeded partly due to voluntary participation by local militia in the HirShabelle and Galmadug states, leading to the elimination of at least 3,000 militants. Currently, the Somali National Army with the help of local forces and international partners, is combing the two states.
While operations by the local militia reduced significantly in subsequent encounters, there has been a deliberate effort to mobilize them. Early this week, a number of them are said to have started facing the militants on the battlefield, a huge boost to the ongoing operations.
After the conclusion of operations in central Somalia, the national army along with local militia, US Africa Command, and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] soldiers are expected to storm Jubaland and Southwest states for similar operations. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has already nodded to the move.