State-supported clan uprising bolsters offensive against al Shabab in central Somalia
Somali tribal militia backed by the Somali government have pushed al-Shabab terrorists out of large parts of the country’s central area in the latest gains in a large-scale offensive, the country’s state media said on Monday.
The offensive was launched in the Hiran region a few weeks ago against the militants, liberating several key townships before moving on to Galgaduud and then the Bay region in the south. There has been significant progress in the liberation of 40 settlements in the Hiran region alone, with the support of the Somali government’s military commandos trained by the United States.
The actual fight is taken up by the clan-based, state-supported independent Macawisley militia as part of the popular uprising against militants, with the support of the Somali national army.
“Our forces seized territory from militants which stretches over 40 settlements including villages, places where fewer people live and others where more people live,” Ahmed Moallim Fiqi, the interior minister of the Somalia government, said on Sunday (25 September). The minister added that “…you can imagine what happened yesterday and today when militants fled their dead comrades and ammunition, and so far, six villages have been liberated, and this only started yesterday.“ The Somali government claims can’t be independently verified.
The Somali military gains come just one day after al-Qaida-linked militants attacked a training camp, killing one soldier and wounding six others. The Somali government’s campaign to regain control of the country comes at a time when the country is experiencing a raging drought, which UN officials warn will lead to famine within months.