MOGADISHU, Somalia – U.S.-trained Danab forces recaptured a strategic city in the hostile Lower Shabelle region on Friday, officials said in a statement, in a huge success against the militants, who wreaked havoc on the nation of the Horn of Africa in recent years.
Reports indicate that the military team under the command of Danab, a contingent of the Somali National Army [SNA], stormed Mubarak’s region in Lower Shabelle and successfully flushed out the militants, who controlled the key city which is a major supply route.
Danab soldiers managed to seize a vehicle loaded with explosives and several suspects will now be brought to justice for trial. The military has not disclosed the number of Al-Shabaab militants who were arrested during the operation, but it is estimated that more than 20 of them are being held by the military while waiting to be judged.
The Mubarak region is one of those regions considered to be an al-Shabaab stronghold and the victory puts SNA soldiers in pole position to retake the country. Lower Shabelle is one of the areas that has seen an intense struggle between government soldiers and militants over the past decade.
Last week, SNA troops announced the recapture of Lower Shebelle following operations carried out since February this year. Official reports say more than 100 activists have been killed this year alone in Lower Shebelle thanks to multi-agency operations.
In March, government troops also recaptured Janaale, a key agricultural town in Lower Shabelle after several days of shootings against militants. Prior to her capture, Janaale was the activists’ main source of income and it is estimated that they earned millions of dollars from illegal taxes.
It comes just hours after security forces in Mogadishu paraded an Al-Shabaab suspect identified as Mohamed Hassan who was arrested for allegedly throwing mortars in the Deynile district north of the city. There has been a wave of mortar attacks in the capital, mainly targeting The Villa Somalia in recent months.
Danab’s forces have been instrumental in enforcing law and order in the country. The United States is keen to train more security forces before the planned exit of several foreign troops, serving primarily in the African Union Mission in Somalia, more than a decade after their deployment.