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Hiiraan governor and US ambassador discuss ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab

Saturday April 29, 2023



Beledweyne (HOL) - US Ambassador to Somalia, Larry André, held a video conference with Hiiraan Governor Ali Jeyte and other prominent Hiraan leaders on Friday, expressing US support for ongoing anti-Al-Shabaab operations in Hirshabelle. The offensive against Al-Shabaab in the Hiiraan region has been strengthened by local clan militias known as Ma'awisley.

Governor Jeyte thanked the outgoing ambassador for the US's assistance, which includes weapons, ammunition, and air support. During the call, Ambassador André condemned recent inter-clan fighting in Hiiraan between two rival militia forces. According to residents, the conflict resulted in the deaths of five militia members and ten others in the Afar Irdod neighbourhood. André stated that those who instigated the clash attempted to undermine the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Governor Ali Jeyte has led the anti-al Shabab offensive in the Hiiraan region since President Hassan Sheikh announced an "all-out war" against the group. The local forces have liberated several major towns and villages from Al-Shabaab control. In January, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud initiated the second phase of military operations against Al-Shabaab, aiming to eradicate the militant group from the remaining parts of the country.

Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group, has waged an insurgency against the Somali government and African Union troops since 2007. Despite losing key territories, the group still controls large parts of southern and central Somalia and has demonstrated its ability to expand operations beyond the country's borders. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has led a military campaign against al-Shabaab for 15 years, yielding mixed results. The strength of al-Shabaab remains unclear, although some UN reports suggest that the group now has 12,000 fighters.

US support has been crucial in the Somali National Army's efforts to combat al-Shabaab terrorists after President Mohamud declared an "all-out war" against them last year. In January, the US donated $9 million in weapons, vehicles, medical supplies, and other equipment to the Somali National Army for use in Galmudug and Hirshabelle. The US made a second delivery in March that comprised 61 tons of weapons and ammunition for the SNA Danab Advanced Infantry Brigade.


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