SOMALIA: Al Shabaab weapons discovered in Bakara Market, Mogadishu

Published: August 13, 2011

Somali Police and African Union troops uncovered a large store of artillery shells in a disused house yesterday in Bakara Market from where the extremist militant group has recently withdrawn. It is believed these munitions were being stockpiled for use in making improvised bombs.
After a tip-off from residents in the city the Somali police went to the shell-damaged house in the centre of Bakara Market. When African Union troops, AMISOM, were called in they discovered 137 artillery shells of 155mm calibre. The extremist group, who until recently had been fighting soldiers of the African Union and Somali government, are not known to have the artillery weapons to fire these shells.
Reacting to the find, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, the AMISOM Force spokesperson said:
“The extremists were storing up large stocks of munitions in order to make improvised bombs to launch a campaign of terror in Mogadishu.
“The discovery shows how Somali government security forces and the African Union troops of AMISOM are working closely together to remove the remaining threat insurgents pose to the city’s inhabitants. It will take time but by improving security in the city, particularly in the commercial heart of Bakara Market, residents will be able to return and businesses can start trading again.”
AMISOM has a force of 9,000 soldiers who are currently redeploying to help secure a city which has a population that is growing every day as displaced Somalis come in search of food, shelter and medical assistance.
“The pressures on the African Union AMISOM force remain incredibly high. Large areas of the city have to be cleared of these types of weapons stores and secured in the longer term so that the city can return to some semblance of normality and to do this we need more troops”,
The shells were defused and removed by AMISOM troops and are being destroyed. The Al Qaeda linked insurgent group had withdrawn from the city on 6th August. Since then the African Union force has been working closely with TFG forces to clear the newly taken areas of the city of unexploded ordinance and weapons and redeploy to secure the city.

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