Somalia: AMISOM denies withdrawal of troops from strategic towns

Somalia: AMISOM denies withdrawal of troops from strategic townsThe African Union mission in Somalia denied on Friday reports of its troops’ withdrawal from strategic areas in the Southern part of the country, a top official has said.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Maman Sidikou, said in a press statement that the peacekeepers wouldn’t pull back from any town or location that will let al-Shabaab to recapture.
Local residents and local government officials including a governor of one of the vacated districts confirmed to the media that both Somali and African Union forces withdrew from the towns of Awdheegle and Qoryoley of the Lower Shabelle region. Al-Shabaab militants’ presence had been rising in areas surrounded by both the strategic towns.
“AMISOM and the SNA are currently re-adjusting and re-organizing troop deployments in order to revitalize an already effective strategy that has enabled the recovery, consolidation ,expansion and control of over eighty percent of South Central Somalia by the Federal Government (FGS).

Ambassador Maman Sidikou
Ambassador Maman Sidikou

‘’This joint exercise by the AMISOM and the SNA leaderships will revitalize our joint operations against Al- Shabaab and further enhance security for our Somali brothers and sisters to continue to go about their lives in peace, safety and security,” he said in the statement.
The withdrawal of these forces came less than a week after al-Shabaab militants killed more than 50 African Union forces in a major deadly assault in Leego district of Lower Shabelle.
Though al-Shabaab was pushed out of key towns in South and Central Somalia, the group has been able to hit high-profile targets in Mogadishu’s heavily fortified areas, including the national courts, the UN compound, the Turkish embassy, and popular gathering places.
Horseed Media has learnt that the second phase of the Operation Indian Ocean – a campaign to further neutralize Al-Shabaab forces and capture remaining ports controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked militant group has been postponed due to the lack of sufficient resources and funding from the EU powers.
Horseed Media