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Security heightened in Somalia ahead of Ramadan

Thursday May 3, 2018
By Sadab Kitatta Kaaya

Brig Paul L'Okech speaking to the media in Somalia

Acting on past experience, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is beefing up security in major urban centres ahead of the Islamic holy month of fasting.

The month of Ramadan is expected to begin in about two weeks, and based on past experience, the al-Shabaab militants usually carry out attacks during the period.

"We have always had challenges during that month [of Ramadhan]; we always get propping attacks from the Al-Shabaab but this time, we want to ensure that our brothers observe the fasting peacefully," Brig Paul L'Okech, the Uganda contingent commander in Somalia told journalists at his offices in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

L'Okech said, the AMISOM forces are working with the Somali National Army  (SNA) and the police to increase check points on all routes into urban centres.

Urban centres have been al-Shabaab's main targets during Ramadhan, planting improvised explosive devices  (IEDs) in busy areas like markets,  restaurants, hotels, mosques and security installations.
"al-Shabaab is not in one place, they keep propping up which requires us to be vigilant," L'Okech said.

In most of its attacks, al-Shabaab uses IEDs - loaded on vehicles that are driven into their target points.

The AMISOM supply routes are sometimes also planted with IEDs that have left a number of trucks destroyed and some personnel injured.


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