Afrique en Ligue
Monday, September 24, 2012
Nairobi, Kenya - The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has registered its biggest victory in Somalia yet, with the surrender of more than 200 Islamist insurgents of Al Shabaab, following disagreements within the group's ranks that led to the factional killing of eight of its fighters, AMISOM said in a statement Sunday. They characterised the surrender as a major setback for Al Shabaab, which has been holding onto the third city of Johwar, 80km from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, as its main base after being dislodged from its strongholds in Mogadishu, Baidoa and with an ongoing assault on the city of Kismayu, 500 km from Mogadishu.
The statement quoted AMISOM Deputy Force Commander, Brig. Michael Ondoga, as saying the mass surrender of the fighters was the surest signal yet of the defeat of the militia group in the battle to free the country from the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamists.
'We want to call on all those who want peace not terror to lay down down their arms,' the deputy force commander said.
According to AMISOM, the Al Shabaab fighters surrendered at a place called Garsale, from where they were transferred to an army base controlled by the AMISOM in Mogadishu.
AMISOM troops collected 80 weapons from the surrendering fighters.
'Today's events confirm that Al Shabaab is divided and being defeated across Somalia,' said Brig. Ondoga. 'Somalia is moving towards a secure and stable future free from the scourge of violence and terror.'
The Somali parliament recently elected a new President in an efforts to restore political stability to the Horn of Africa nation after decades of crisis.
The latest defection by Al Shabaab resulted from the killing of eight of the group's members by a rival militia.