The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) will continue conducting joint military operations to liberate regions still under the control of Al-Shabaab, the African Union Special Representative for Somalia said yesterday.
Speaking at an Eid al-Adha dinner hosted for the Muslim community in the capital, Mogadishu, Ambassador Francisco Madeira said the resolve by AMISOM and the federal government to defeat Al-Shabaab and bring back peace and security remains unshaken.
“As we celebrate Eid al-Adha, let me congratulate the Force Commander and the Sector One Commander for the important achievements they have made, the recent one being the liberation of Awdheegle,” Ambassador Madeira stated, adding that the strong working relations between AMISOM and the Somali security forces had made the liberation of bridge towns possible.
Awdheegle is the fourth bridge town to be liberated in the Lower Shabelle region, this year, from Al-Shabaab militants by Somali security forces with the support of AMISOM troops. Other towns are Sabiid, Bariire and Eel-Saliini.
The AU Special Representative stressed the importance of troop generation in securing Somalia, saying the country needs trained forces capable of holding liberated territories. He praised the federal government for making troop generation a priority, saying Somali National Army (SNA) battalions are the ones holding liberated territories in these four towns.
Ambassador Madeira added that AMISOM will continue pushing for the strengthening of the Somali security forces following the recent success of the joint military operations. “Today, partners are helping Somalia generate trained and equipped forces.
It is these forces that, with our support, are now holding liberated towns,” he observed. Conducting joint military operations, protecting population centres and clearing main supply routes are key activities that AMISOM is undertaking as part of the implementation of the Somali Transition Plan, which has the main objective of transferring security responsibility to the Somali security forces.
Present at the function were the AU Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Simon Mulongo; AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegn; AMISOM Sector One Commander, Brig. Gen. Michael Kabango and other senior officials.