Somalia detains military officials for deserting battlefields against Al-Shabaab
Somalia detains army officers for deserting the battlefront against Al-Shabaab
During a visit to Mahas in the Hiiraan region, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud disclosed that several officers from the Somali National Army (SNA) have been apprehended for allegedly abandoning their positions in the fight against Al-Shabaab. This comes after recent reports suggesting that the military may have withdrawn from various towns in the country. The exact number of officers arrested remains unspecified, but President Hassan Sheikh has affirmed that they will face court-martial. These soldiers have reportedly abandoned Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), which goes against military ethics in Somalia.
Over the past 10 months, the Somali National Army has been conducting operations against Al-Shabaab with the assistance of the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), resulting in the killing of thousands of militants. However, a few members have chosen to desert, posing challenges to the military’s efforts.
President Hassan Sheikh addressed the SNA soldiers in Mahas, stating, “We are aware of those who left without permission. They have been arrested and will face court-martial for abandoning their patriotic duties, which they swore to fulfill voluntarily.” Following recent attacks by Al-Shabaab in Cawsweyne and Gal’ad, some soldiers opted to retreat, making it difficult for the military to continue operations against the group nationwide. Currently, most troops are combing through the Galmadug and HirShabelle states in preparation for Operation Black Lion in Jubaland and Southwest.
Operation Black Lion aims to eradicate Al-Shabaab from strategic areas in Jubaland and Southwest states, as emphasized by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The president is committed to eliminating this group, which has hindered the state-building process in Somalia.
Meanwhile, Minister of Defense Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur responded to allegations made by former HirShabelle President Mohamed Abdi Ware, who claimed that “wrong orders” from Nur led to deadly terrorist attacks on the Galcad and Cawsweyne bases. Nur dismissed these claims, stating that there are individuals seeking to undermine the SNA operation by spreading propaganda aimed at demoralizing the soldiers fighting against Al-Shabaab. He urged frontline troops not to pay heed to these misleading statements, which serve the interests of the “enemy.” Ware, who serves as a special presidential envoy for civilian protection and stabilization, accused Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur of sabotaging the fight against Al-Shabaab, potentially causing divisions within the presidency.