Somalia to launch new large-scale military offensive

Somali national army started mine-cleaning operations in the central state of Galmudug ahead of another military offensive against the al-Shabaab terrorist group.

“Our SNA (Somali national army) teams have successfully cleared landmines along the Mudug and Galgudud corridor. Ensuring safe passage and security for our citizens remains our utmost priority. We thank everyone involved for their bravery and dedication”, Somali Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Troops stationed in the town of Mahas district in the Hiiraan region also conducted a “successful” operation targeting al-Shabaab terrorists’ hideouts, said a statement by the army.

Ahmed Adan, a security officer in Mogadishu, told Anadolu over the phone on Wednesday that the army killed hundreds of terrorists in separate operations in different parts of the country while thwarting many attacks.

“I can’t give you the exact number of terrorists killed in recent days and weeks ahead of the upcoming military offensives, but the number exceeds hundreds,” he said.

He said the army on Wednesday shot dead a suicide bomber who was driving a vehicle laden with explosive devices to target the government forces on the outskirts of the newly-liberated town of Masagawa in the Galgadud region.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced a “total war” against the terrorist on ideological, financial as well as military fronts.

Mahamud also relocated from the capital Mogadishu to the central city of Dhusamareb, the administrative capital of Galmudug state which is one of the epicenters of the war against al-Shabaab.

His stay in the central provinces is seen as a moral-boasting relocation for the national army and the local militias who have been fighting against the terrorist group.

Somali army backed by the clan militias liberated large swathes of territories from the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab, including the strategic coastal town of Haradhere which had been under the group’s control for more than a decade.

Somalia needs international support to defeat al-Shabaab, Mohamed Husein Gaas, director at Raad Peace Research Institute based in Mogadishu, told Anadolu on Wednesday over the phone.

He said the government has the determination and public support but lacks large-scale support from the international community.

“There is a rare opportunity in Somalia now because there is a determination from the government that had not been there before so the international community and the frontline states should not miss this opportunity,” he said.

He also lauded the Turkish government’s support to Somalia, saying that Ankara’s consistency in terms of military, humanitarian, educational, and developmental support to Somalia is “very important.”

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats emanating from al-Shabaab and the Daesh/ISIS terror groups.

Since 2007, the group has been fighting the Somali government and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a multidimensional mission authorized by the African Union and mandated by the United Nations Security Council.

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