Mohamed Sheikh Nor
Tuesday September 27, 2022
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA — Somalia's state media on Monday said the military has pushed al-Shabab terrorists out of large parts of the country's central area in the latest gains in a large-scale offensive.There has been significant progress in the liberation of 40 settlements in the Hiran region alone, with the support of the Somali government's military commandos trained by the United States.
An offensive by the Somali tribal militia backed by the Somali government was launched in the Hiran region a few weeks ago against al-Shabab militants, liberating several key townships before moving on to Galgaduud and then the Bay region in the south.
However, the actual fight is taken up by the clan-based, state-supported independent Macawisley militia as part of the popular uprising against militants.
Local militia members formally linked to the southwest administration of Somalia captured four settlements on the outskirts of Baidoa in the Bay region from militants with the support of the Somali national army forces Monday, proving that the uprising against the group has now expanded to the south.
State-run media reported Monday that Busley, Bulo-Jadid, Matani and Usli were among the newly liberated villages.
In an appearance on a talk show hosted by a local TV station Sunday, Ahmed Moallim Fiqi, the interior minister of the Somalia government, said the Somali army and local militia tribes had defeated militants in central Somalia after liberating much of the Hiran and Galgaduud regions.
He noted that 40 settlements in Hiran and six more in Galgaduud had been liberated in less than three weeks, deeming this work commendable.
"Our forces seized territory from militants which stretches over 40 settlements including villages, places where fewer people live and others where more people live," he said. "These 40 settlements are located only in the Hiran region and a new operation has been launched in the Galgaduud region to liberate more territories, and you can imagine what happened yesterday and today when militants fled their dead comrades and ammunition, and so far, six villages have been liberated, and this only started yesterday."
VOA has not independently verified the Somali government claims.
The Somali military gains come just one day after al-Qaida-linked militants attacked a training camp, killing one soldier and wounding six others.
The Somali government's campaign to regain control of the country comes at a time when the country is experiencing a raging drought, which U.N. officials warn will lead to famine within months.