MOGADISHU, Somalia – Several weeks after withdrawing from various frontlines, local militias in Somalia have initiated significant mobilization against the Al-Shabaab militants. This development has the potential to greatly bolster the troops fighting against the militants in the central parts of the country.
The Somali National Army [SNA] has resumed operations in HirShabelle and Galmadug, following the completion of the first phase of operations against the militants, which resulted in over 3,000 militant casualties according to the Federal Government of Somalia.
Despite the resumption of operations in the central regions, the local militias, who played a crucial role in planning and execution during the first phase, have been reluctant to return to the battlefield. In an effort to encourage their participation, the government recently offered them stipends to rejoin the war.
Multiple sources have confirmed the intense activity near Cali Fooldheere today, as local Ma’awisley fighters, along with some government troops, mobilize for an attack on the al-Shabaab militants stationed in Ciid Ciidka.
Earlier this week, an IED explosion in the area resulted in the death of at least one soldier. Regional officials are now pushing for a quick and positive outcome, which would involve pushing the militants back to the west side of the river. Sources have reported the presence of a helicopter in the sky, targeting the militants.
Once the combing exercise is completed in central Somalia, the government plans to launch Operation Black Lion Mission, targeting the states of Jubaland and Southwest. These two states will be the focus of the second phase of operations, as declared by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Preparations for the much-anticipated operations involve forces from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], US Africa Command, and a segment of the Somali National Army [SNA]. Additionally, a number of Al-Shabaab terrorists have surrendered to government troops.