By Julius Odeke
The Somali National army supported by African Union forces from the Ugandan Contingent has on Thursday morning captured three strategic positions at Lower Shabelle in Somalia.
The simultaneous operation saw a successful ejection of the Al Shabaab from the strategic towns/crossing points of Barrire, Aw dheegle, and Janaale along river Shabelle that were being used as spring board to create insecurity on Afgooye-Marka road and to freely connect from Barawe port, 200km south west of Mogadishu, and Korole to Buur hakaaba in Central Somalia, that are still al shabaab strongholds.
The three positions are 60km, 72km, and 94km respectively along the river, south west of Mogadishu. The Ugandan Contingent commander Brig Michael Ondoga said: “This operation puts us on a better footing to defeat the enemy at Buur hakaba because we have now cut off their main communication and reinforcement routes through Toritori. We have also blocked the key crossing points that the terrorists were using to sneak into our rear positions and into the city.”
The Al shabaab had fled to these remote positions for reorganisation following their defeats in major towns like Marka, Afgooye and Kismayo. Apart from being strategic communication links, these agricultural positions along the river had provided Al-Shabaab with ample water, food and a source of revenue collected from the commercial farmers. They also used the positions as a ground for forceful recruitment, something that the population has long detested.
“The population have had enough troubles with this group and there was no more time left to address the population‘s concerns so as to allow them enjoy their rights and freedoms. This operation also fulfilled a part of our wider intent to expand our area of control and to defeat Al shabaab from Somalia.” Brig Ondoga said.
The allied operating forces faced little resistance and inflicted heavy losses on the Al- shabaab UN Security Council 6626th meeting mandated Uganda contingent in Somalia to conduct peace enforcement operations (chapter VII) Somalia which permits conduct of offensive action against hostile forces, using all necessary means.