Dhusamareb, Somalia — President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said that his government will carry out a military operation to retake the last areas in Galmudug from Al-Shabaab militants.
The imminent SNA operation, he said will start before the launch of the second phase of the offensive, in which frontline countries – Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia will participate.
Speaking last night at the commemoration of the 17th anniversary of Galmudug’s establishment, the President announced that the government forces are now heading to Elbur and Galhareeri, located in the Galgaduud region.
Hassan Sheikh praised Galmudug for the prominent role it is taking in the fight against Al-Shabaab, underlining that next year the commemoration will take place in a place where it was not possible to be held.
In addition, the president called for attention to Al-Shabaab’s plan to divide the tribes in the regional state and create internal conflict, to divert the focus of the current Somali-led war.
The government and allied clan militias since last year have forced Al-Shabaab from swathes of territory, main in Galmudug and HirShabelle states in central Somalia.
The combined forces took the port town of Harardhere and the nearby town of Galcad, in one of their most significant victories since launching an offensive against the group last year.
Harardhere was a major base for pirates hijacking merchant ships until 2011. It was later taken over by al-Shabab, which first rose up against the government in 2007 before pledging its allegiance to al-Qaeda.