Friday, October 02, 2015
MOGADISHU (HOL) -----The first civilian airliner carrying dozens of passengers has landed in the Somali town of Buloburte on Thursday two days after African Union officials declared that allied troops have taken out militants’ blockade on the town by pushing their fighters from areas around the town, ending months of besiege that denied the settlement of humanitarian aid and access.
The small passenger has landed at the town’s dusty airstrip as hundreds of residents queued to witness the first flight they have seen in years, a sign that life is returning to normalcy in the town in Hiran region after months of adversity.
The airport officially named as HIILWALAAL INTERNATIONAL AIPROT to honor Djibouti troops serving under AMISOM which are based in Hiiraan.
As the cabin crew swung the door open, smiling passengers who fled the town during militants’ reign have gotten out of the plane, embracing awaiting relatives and friends.
The flight from Mogadishu is paving the way for more flights to Buloburte which has been under militants control for years before the allied AU and Somali troops ousted them last year.
Al-Shabab fighters have since launched attacks against troops in the town which is recovering from the restrictive blockade by extremist fighters.
Despite losing several villages and towns in the region, Al-Shabab fighters maintain a tight grip on the rural areas from where the group orchestrates attacks in the region.
However, African Union officials said that their troops are planning to open the toll road linking Hiran and Buloburte in the face of the AL-Shabab’s presence with the group effectively controls strings of villages between Beledweyne and Buloburte, a corridor that could give it a larger area to launch attacks to disrupt the ongoing offensive against it and consolidate their power bases in south and central Somalia.