Somalia to Launch New Offensive Against al-Shabab

Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at reconciliation conference in Baidoa Tuesday. (PHOTO CREDIT: SONNA)

Somalia will launch the second phase of a military offensive against the militant group al-Shabab in the Bakool, Bay and Lower Shabelle regions, the president announced Tuesday.

Speaking at a reconciliation conference in Baidoa, South West regional state, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said al-Shabab has blockaded several towns in the region, including the region’s headquarters.

“Somali people have only one enemy and it is al-Shabab. They kill men, women, children, the elderly and all Somalis. The government has set plans to eradicate the terrorists from the country,” Mohamud said.

The president said the ongoing offensive against al-Shabab in central regions was nearing completion and called for unity in the fight to liberate the country from the terror group.

Terrorist threats and attacks have held back the country’s political, social, and economic progress.

“We will not allow any blockade and will make the road safe for the people if the roads connecting Mogadishu and Baidoa are cleared and militants are removed,” Mohamud said.

In recent months, government forces and clan militias have launched a sustained military offensive against al-Shabab, retaking dozens of towns and villages from the al-Qaida-linked terror group.