The Somalia National Army backed by African Union forces has captured a key town from Al-Shabaab in the country.
In an operation on Saturday, SNA and African Union Mission in Somalia overran Al-Shabaab outposts to capture the key town of Qoryooley in Lower Shabelle.
Located 120 kilometers Southwest of Mogadishu, Qoryooley has been under the brutal rule of the terrorists for five years.
AMISOM said in a statement that in the last one month, many of Al-Shabaab’s commanders had been fleeing towards the town following a string of defeats by the SNA and AMISOM forces. The capture of Qoryooley is also critical for AMISOM's future operations to liberate the port city of Baraawe, one of the remaining sources of illicit revenue for the extremist group.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif congratulated SNA and AMISOM troops on the achievement noting that this operation demonstrates AMISOM’s continuing determination to support the people of Somalia as they embark on a new path of renewal and reconstruction.
“AMISOM will continue to bring security to more areas of Somalia so that local people can live their lives and pursue their livelihoods in freedom,” he said.
The joint operations between the SNA and AMISOM which began this month have liberated eight towns in the various regions around the country, the most recent being Qurunlow town in Middle Shabelle. (READ: Somali and African troops capture town from Al-Shabaab militants)
Since the UN Security Council boosted AMISOM troop numbers to over 22,000, the forces who are working closely with SNA have been expanding to new areas and have helped the Somali government by providing a secure environment and recovering more territory, as well as ensuring law, order and justice.
Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Al-Shabaab was on the run but it was still a dangerous enemy and had to be eliminated for good.
“Every day we are taking new ground from an enemy in headlong flight, putting us in a position to deliver the assistance that is so desperately needed by all those Somalis who have suffered terribly under Al-Shabaab,” the President said.
He added: “We now move into stabilisation mode and, with the help of our partners, must deliver basic public services such as humanitarian assistance, security, justice, good governance, healthcare and education.”
President Mohamud said reform of Somalia’s public financial management system was progressing well.
A new Auditor General and an Accountant General had recently been appointed after a competitive, merit-based selection process supported by the World Bank. The Cabinet had also approved and sent to Parliament legislation introducing a comprehensive taxation system, a critical step towards eventual economic independence.
The President underlined the importance of the Cabinet and Parliament working closely together on the big strategic issues facing Somalia in the coming months.
“The challenges ahead of us are formidable, which is why a strong working partnership is so important. Compromise, flexibility and mutual understanding are always essential in politics, whichever part of the world you’re in. I urge each and every one of you, serve the Somali people to the best of your abilities and never lose sight of the national interest.”