For Immediate Release
Mogadishu, 21 October, 2011
AMISOM Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha, today undertook a tour of the frontline following the commencement yesterday of operations in support of the Somali National Army, aimed at pushing al-Qa’ida linked extremists from the strategic Deynile district on the outskirts of Mogadishu.
“Deynile is of vital strategic importance as it controls access to the Afgoye Corridor which links the capital to the terrorist-controlled areas of southern Somalia, allowing them to reinforce and resupply their fighters in Masla and Balaad in the far northeastern edges of the city,” he said following his tour.
“The Afgoye Corridor is also home to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and securing it will allow humanitarian aid, which the extremists have so far been restricting, to finally reach them,” he said. “The extremists have also been using the suburbs of Deynile as a base to assemble improvised explosive devices, including car and truck bombs such as those recently employed to target civilians in the capital.”
He said that the success of this operation was critical for the security of Mogadishu. “As was to be expected, given Deynile’s significance, the operation has encountered heavy resistance but steady progress is being made. In the face of this resistance, AMISOM has suffered casualties.,” he added.
AMISOM has confirmed that 10 of its soldiers have been killed and 2 are missing in action. One AMISOM armoured vehicle has also been destroyed in the fighting. However, as the operation is ongoing, the mission has been unable to provide final casualty figures at this stage.
Regarding pictures purporting to show dead AMISOM soldiers currently circulating in the press, the Force Commander urged caution. “While it is true that some of our soldiers remain unaccounted for, regardless of whom the deceased may be, the desecration of remains for propaganda purposes is against all civilized norms and international conventions.”
“AMISOM will continue to do everything in its power to support the Somali people and to ensure that the terrorist menace is eradicated so that the citizens, not only in Mogadishu, but also in all of Somalia, can go about their daily lives without fear.”
AMISOM Force Spokesman