Somali and AU Forces March Toward Al Shabaab Stronghold

AU troop
AU troop have brought some stability to Somalia

Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops alongside African Union forces successfully killed Al Shabaab agents while en route to Afgoye a town controlled by Al Shabaab.

The operation named “Free Shabelle” according to an AMISOM press release was successful in killing one senior Al Shabaab commander and his escorts. The unidentified commander was being escorted by two vehicles which were destroyed by the allied forces.

The town of Afgoye is the allied forces’ focus, the town 28 kms southwest of Mogadishu, and is an Al Shabaab controlled district with over 400,000 internally displaced peoples (IDPs) living there.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden urged AMISOM and TFG troops to minimize the impact of the conflict to civilians living in Afgoye who were told not to flee by African Union officials.

The Deputy Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission to Somalia, Wafula Wamunyinyi, asked the residents of Afgoye “to remain where they are for the time being”. The Deputy Representative hoped that after the operation is successful, that IDPs living in Afgoye could return to their homes which they fled because of Al Shabaab, who were pushed back to Afgoye and other parts of southern Mogadishu by TFG and AMISOM forces over the past year.

Mark Bowden who was concerned for the safety of IDPs remained strictly neutral on the operation but did say that humanitarian organizations are preparing to provide assistance to civilians “most affected by military activities in the corridor”.

On Tuesday TFG and AMISOM forces captured an airstrip and base used by Al Shabaab, a very strategic area located in the capital city’s south west side.

Allied forces capture Dayniile

Dayniile a strategic district located near the main road that links Afgoye and Mogadishu has been used by the Al Shabaab terrorist organization for years.

Even after Al Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu, insurgents were operating in Dayniile making use of its airstrip and many back-roads that lead to all directions out of the war-torn capital.

After many onslaughts and battles for Dayniile, TFG and AMISOM forces carried out the operation early Tuesday morning, by late that evening TFG and AMISOM forces captured large parts of the district pushing the insurgents as far back as 5 kms north of Mogadishu.

In a brief statement given to reporters on Tuesday TFG military commander Gen. Abdikarim Yusuf Adan said, “On Tuesday morning we began this operation and we have captured Dayniile airstrip and various routes used by the terrorists.”

The next presumable target for allied forces would be Elesha Biyaha a small district that lies in the middle of Mogadishu and Afgoye. The rundown district has been the focus of TFG officials, who say that the town is where Al Shabaab manufactures weapons and explosives which is then brought into Mogadishu by their agents.

As the battle against Al Shabaab intensifies, TFG and AMISOM forces have been making gradual progress against the terrorist organization. Kenya which has made very little ground in southern Somalia may receive help from the Ethiopian military who unlike Kenya’s very sluggish operations in the Lower Jubba region, have managed to force Al Shabaab from two major cities in south central Somalia.

Ethiopia’s military is not part of the African Union forces sent to Somalia (AMISOM). But there top General in Somalia announced that it will be intensifying its battle against Al Shabaab in Somalia and could quite possibly work closely with the Kenyan military to capture the port city of Kismayo from Al Shabaab.