Somalia: President leads Al-Shabaab elimination meeting ahead of New York conference
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held a strategic meeting on the elimination of Al-Shabaab militants, a group which has wreaked havoc in the country for the last two decades, but which is on the verge of collapsing.
At the meeting, state media reports, the meeting deliberated on the cooperation between government agencies in the fight against Al-Shabaab, ahead of a major security conference in New York City over the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
According to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, citizens have a responsibility to work closely with security agents in fighting Al-Shabaab, which has paralyzed development in the country. The government is involved in the fight against the group.
"The eradication of terrorist groups was the main agenda of the National Security Committee meeting led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud," state media reported on Saturday moments after the meeting.
"The meeting also discussed how to improve cooperation among government security agencies and prepare for the upcoming New York security conference for Somalia," read the statement, without disclosing the date for the upcoming meeting.
For the last year, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has actively been leading the fight against Al-Shabaab, involving the Somali National Army [SNA], African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] and US Africa Command with local militia also involved.
In the process, over 3,000 Al-Shabaab militants have been killed following the collaborative effort in HirShabelle and Galmadug states, the government said. According to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab will commence in Jubaland and Southwest states.
Generally, the government is also targeting Al-Shabaab financiers and institutions abetting terrorism, a move which led to the closing of 250 bank accounts and 70 mobile money transfer firms in the country. Al-Shabaab is believed to be collecting up to $120 million annually.