Tuesday May 30, 2023
Senior Somali officials and military officers of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) said they have held talks aimed at securing main supply routes to ease access to humanitarian aid in southern Somalia.“We discussed how to improve security in our area of responsibility. We also value the coordinated actions of Somali Security Forces and Burundi contingents in the Middle Shabelle region,” Hatungimana said in a statement issued in Jowhar, the capital of Somalia’s Hirshabelle state, Thursday evening.
Oscar Hatungimana, deputy commander for ATMIS Sector 5, said the meeting, which was also attended by Middle Shabelle leaders, discussed security gains and challenges in the second phase of operations against al-Shabab in Somalia’s southern region, which will be launched shortly.
Hatungimana reaffirmed the AU mission’s commitment to supporting Somali security forces to secure main supply routes against attacks by al-Shabab and other armed groups, and to ensuring free movement of goods and services.
He pledged to strengthen relations between ATMIS Burundi forces and the administration of Middle Shabelle to help secure Hirshabelle State.
Aid agencies say the poor state of main supply routes in south-central Somalia has provided conditions for al-Shabab to continue laying ambushes and use explosive devices against ATMIS convoys and Somali national security forces.
Ahmed Meyre Makaran, governor of Middle Shabelle, underlined the need to prevent al-Shabab from interrupting the movement of civilians and security forces along major supply routes.
Makaran said his administration is willing to collaborate with ATMIS troops to degrade the terror group.
Sector 5 is strategically located and acts as a security buffer for Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, against al-Shabab attacks and also plays a key role in securing main supply routes from the national capital to other parts of the country.