Mogadishu (HAN) September 4, 2014 – Defense and Security note by Geeska Afrika Regional Security Editor. Somalia’s federal government has vowed to step up the military offensive dubbed Operation Indian Ocean which is aimed at defeating al Shabaab militant group. The statement was made on Tuesday after Somali cabinet held an extraordinary session in the capital and agreed to step up the military offensive jointly launched by Somali and AMISOM troops last week.
Somali Minister of National Security, Khalif Ahmed Ereg who spoke to the press after the session said that the government offers a 45-day amnesty to al Shabaab fighters and urged the youth fighting along with the militant group to heed the government’s calls.
A federal Somalia cabinet-level security meeting, Somali authorities gave al-Shabab fighters 45 days to take up the offer, Security Minister Khalif Ahmed Ereg told reporters in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
The security minister urged Somali religious scholars to offer counseling and guidance to the Somali youth misled by the militant group. He further called on Somali people to support government’s efforts to defeat al Shabaab militant group as the military offensive against the militants intensifies in many parts of the country.
Somali militants Al Shabaab has denied that its leader Abu Zubeyr, whose real name is Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in the convoy hit by US drone strike on Tuesday but confirmed that their convoy come under attack. Unidentified al Shabaab leader said Abu Zubeyr left the area moments before the airstrike. However, the details of the attack which happened in Sablaale area near al Shabaab’s stronghold of Barawe still remains unclear.
A US air strike in Somalia killed at least six members of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab, possibly including its leader who was in a car that was hit.
Ahmed Abdi Godane has no heir apparent as leader and analysts fear his death will spark further instability in the group.
The al-Shabaab leader was in one of two vehicles hit on Monday night by the strike, a commander of the Somali Islamic extremist group said, but he would not say whether Godane was among the six killed.
The vehicles were heading towards the coastal town of Barawe, al-Shabaab’s main base, when they were struck, Abu Mohammed said. The Pentagon confirmed that US military forces had attacked the extremist network in Somalia on Monday.
The US military has since said it is assessing the results of its attack. It is not the first time senior al Shabaab leaders come under drone attack in the region.
Amisom and Somali federal Government forces seize Jalalaqsi town, Hiiran region: Somali government forces backed by African Union troops in Somalia Wednesday captured the town of Jalalaqsi, which lies approximately 200 KM north of the capital, Mogadishu. Area residents said the allied forces took full control of the town without any resistance. Al Shabaab fighters reportedly withdrew from the town before Somali and AMISOM forces moved in. Jalalaqsi becomes the latest town to fall into the hands of the Somali and AMISOM forces as e military offensive dubbed Operation Indian Ocean which kicked off last week gains momentum. Al Shabaab militant group controlled the agricultural rich town of jalalaqsi which is also the third largest town in Hiran region over the past few years. The Operation Indian Ocean is aimed at defeating al Shabaab militant group.
Somali President Mohamoud returns to Mogadishu: The president of the federal government of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with a delegation has returned back to the country. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accompanied by senior Somali government officials has jetted in from Kenyan capital city of Nairobi after attending a summit in which African countries heads discussed threats emerging from terrorist groups operating in some parts of the continent. Somali foreign minister while briefing the media at Adden Adde International Airport stated that they have attended the inauguration of Turkish new president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and later travelled to Kenyan capital of Nairobi to play their role in a African Union conference on terrorism in Africa and how they can tackle its emerging threats.
Al-Shabaab ambushes convoy carrying food aid near Bulo-burde: Al-Shabaab militant group fighters have reportedly attacked a convoy carrying food aid to residents of Bulo-burde town in Somalia’s central Hiran region. African Union forces and Somali government troops were escorting the convoy to Buloburde town when they came under attack from al Shabaab fighters. Hiiraan Governor, Abdifatah Hassan Afrah who was travelling with the convoy told Bar-kulan that the allied forces killed seven al Shabaab fighters in clashes with the militant fighters. He said the armed confrontations occurred in an area between Nur Fanah and Garsani villages in Hiiraan region after a group of al Shabaab fighters ambushed the convoy. He also added one government soldier was killed in the clashes. The governor said that they have so far managed to supply food aid to residents of Nur Fanah and Halgan villages and promised the food aid will soon reach the town of Buloburde and its environs. The food aid was recently donated to the people of Buloburde town by the government of Djibouti.
Somalia Private radio journalists arrested by Security forces in Mogadishu: The National Security and Intelligence Agency (NSS) on Wednesday arrested two journalists a day after the NISA imposed strict orders against the independent media in Mogadishu, Somalia capital. Hassan Ali Gesey, the director of Radio Dalsan and Abukar Muhyadin, a news reporter of for the radio were detained from their station’s premise early on Wednesday after members of NISA entered the radio station. “Members of NISA accompanied by Colonel Mohamed Aden Koofi, the head of NISA Benadir region came to the radio station this morning. They called on Hassan Ali Gesey and the journalist Abukar Muhyadin and went away with them,” a journalist at radio Dalsan who asked not to be named told RBC Radio. The two journalists are reportedly held in the NISA detention at Godka Jila’ow, a place where al Shabaab fighters recently attacked.
Regional allies and Somali Government forces increased offensive against Al-shabaab villages: Somali forces and security agenies has vowed to step up the military offensive dubbed Operation Indian Ocean which is aimed at defeating al Shabaab militant group. The statement was made on Tuesday after Somali cabinet held an extraordinary session in the capital and agreed to step up the military offensive jointly launched by Somali and AMISOM troops last week. Somali Minister of National Security, Khalif Ahmed Ereg who spoke to the press after the session said that the government offers a 45-day amnesty to al Shabaab fighters and urged the youth fighting along with the militant group to heed the government’s calls. The minister urged Somali religious scholars to offer counseling and guidance to the Somali youth misled by the militant group. He further called on Somali people to support government’s efforts to defeat al Shabaab militant group as the military offensive against the militants intensifies in many parts of the country.
Health Crisis in Hospitals in Galgadud region hit by acute drug shortages: Shortage of drugs in most of hospitals in South-Central Somalia has crippled the essential services the health centers use to offer to the residents. Istarlin hospital in Gurieel district of Galgadud region is one of the hospitals hit by the severe shortage of drugs in the region. The director of Istarlin Omar Tarabi says the hospital is on the verge of closure due drugs shortage and increasing number of patients that reach the center everyday adding that many inpatients who came from far areas. The director sent appeal to the aid agencies to deliver emergency support meant to save the lives of the residents. Istarlin hospital in Guri Eel, Galgaduud region use to get medical assistance, financial and technical support from MSF, the support stopped after MSF withdrew from Somalia before one year. MSF first started working in Istarlin in 2006, with the aim of providing free quality healthcare in all departments of the hospital. The organization has also invested in the training of medical staff in the region.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Philippe Lazzarini said decisive measures will be required to ensure that Somalis future is not ruined. Lazzarini said aid organizations have began using air cargo flights to areas with no road access, adding that this was simply not sufficient to deliver the volume of humanitarian assistance required.
“Securing road access for commercial and humanitarian supplies in addition to having more resources is tantamount to the sustained delivery,” Lazzarini said and expressed concern by the serious deterioration in the food security situation in Somalia.
The Government of Kenya is facing challenges to raise almost $ US 9.2 million needed to fund the voluntary repatriation of Somalia refugees back home country. Harun Komen of department of refugees Affairs has said that the response to requests for donor funding have been below expectations. According to Kenyan officials about 5000 Somali refugees who are ready to return home voluntarily will be assisted to repatriate once their final dates are agreed upon by the Somali government and UNHCR. They include 2,200 refugees from Kakuma Camp and 2800 from Dadaab, who will be repatriated using the available UNHCR funds.
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