Somlia: AU forces plan to cover al-Shabaab strongholds

Published: October 8, 2011

AMISOM force commander Gen.Nathan Mugisha

The regional peacekeeping mission in Somalia has declared its intentions to move and secure south and central Somalia.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) confirmed it had controlled about 95 per cent of the war-torn country’s capital, Mogadishu, and overpowered al-Shabaab militants.
Speaking in Nairobi on Friday, Amisom force commander Maj-Gen Fred Mugisha said recent terror attacks by al-Shabaab revealed how “weak and desperate” the group had become.
He said that as soon the peacekeeping force had acquired complete control of Mogadishu, they would move to the central and southern areas, including Kismayu.
“Today, 95 per cent of Mogadishu is under the control of Amisom and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). We will move to the south as soon as we gain full control. Terrorism has nothing to do with military strength. Infact, it shows how weak and desperate the group is,” said Mr Mugisha.
Conquering Mogadishu falls under Phase 1 of the Amisom concept of operation that aims to liberate the whole of Mogadishu.
Mr Mugisha said Amisom had relatively stabilised the security situation in Mogadishu, adding that any serious faction that aspires to attain political power would not carry out terror attacks on the same people it looked forward to rule
Amisom, in collaboration with TFG, will conduct its operations in three phases aimed at freeing the people of Somalia from the shackles of atrocities.
The second phase is meant to take control of all townships surrounding Mogadishu and later to the central and southern parts of Somalia, including Kismayu.
Mr Mugisha said the second phase of their operations may help prevent more attacks on Kenya by al-Shabaab militants that has so far seen two tourists kidnapped in Lamu, part of Kenya’s coast.
According to the peacekeeping mission, militias loyal to TFG are carrying out their operations south west of Mogadishu near the Kenya-Ethiopia border to prevent terrorism.
“We hope we’ll be able to extend our operations to have the whole of Mogadishu city liberated.
“We also have a sizeable number of TFG-allied militia waging war against al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda,” explained Mr Mugisha.
According to the mission’s force commander, the terrorists are operating in rundown buildings and have built 50 to 100 metre tunnels connecting one building to the other to prevent Amisom from expanding its operations.
The Somali insurgents are also said to be using a combination of tactics ranging from conventional, assymetrical and terror attacks to wreak havoc in the country and its neighbours. Amisom and TFG have not been spared either since the same atrocities are also being waged on their troops.
According to Amisom, the rebels are coordinating their activities with pirates and the ransom money used to drive their war machines.
Women and children are the worst hit, with civilians walking about 400 km from the south to look for food and protection in Mogadishu.
Some of the challenges the Amisom faces include lack of manpower, lack of helicopters and inadequate maritime capability.
Source: Nation

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *