Tuesday March 28, 2023
Mogadishu (HOL) - Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced the initiation of the second phase of military operations against the extremist group Al-Shabab on Sundaay. This new phase aims to eradicate the militant group from the remaining parts of the country.
The announcement was made during President Mohamud's visit
to the recently liberated Aadan Yabaal district. The President highlighted the significant progress made by the Somali National Army (SNA) during the first phase of the war against Al-Shabab and expressed confidence in the SNA's ability to succeed in the upcoming phase.
The first phase, which began in August 2022, marked a turning point in Somalia's struggle against Al-Shabab. The Somali-led offensive in central Somalia demonstrated the progress and increased capability of the SNA. With support from the United States and Turkey, the SNA gained momentum, capturing strategic towns such as Harardhere and Galcad. The involvement of local clan militias and international drone support served as force multipliers, and the Somali government focused on targeting Al-Shabab's income generation.
In his address to local authorities and residents, President Mohamud emphasized his administration's commitment to stabilization and providing essential public services in the region.
The declaration marks a significant step forward in the ongoing battle against Al-Shabab. According to President Mohamud, the second phase of offensive operations is expected to be easier than the first, as the national army has gained valuable experience. "We have more experience than when we first entered the war in Galmudug and Hirshabelle states. We've learned the tactics of Al-Shabab. Our morale tells us that we can defeat them," he said at the opening of the South West reconciliation conference in Baidoa on January 17, 2023.
Despite the progress made in the first phase, the long-term success of the offensive will depend on the Somali government's ability to protect ordinary citizens and prevent Al-Shabab from infiltrating government-controlled areas. Strengthening the capacity of the Somali police and focusing on a "clear and hold" strategy rather than "search and destroy" will be crucial in ensuring lasting victory over the extremist group.
With this renewed offensive, the Somali government hopes to finally rid the country of Al-Shabab's presence and bring stability and security to its citizens.