Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced that the second phase of the ongoing offensive to liberate the country from the al-Shabab group would begin in Somalia’s South West regional state.
President Mohamud said on Tuesday at the opening of the South West reconciliation conference in Baidoa that the first phase of the operation against the group in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states is nearing completion. He noted that the government had prepared many troops to liberate al-Shabaab-controlled areas in the country.
“All Somalis have one enemy: the Al-Shabaab militants; they kill men, women, children, the elderly, and every Somali person. The government has set plans to eradicate the terrorists; the first phase is nearing completion, and the second phase will begin in the Southwest State of Somalia,” President Hassan Sheikh said.
The President stated, “We must unify all of our efforts to free our country from terrorist groups draining the people’s blood, posing a threat to the people’s economy, and clogging roadways due to their terror.”
“If the routes connecting Mogadishu and Baidoa are cleaned, and all terrorists are eliminated, then no blockade will be permitted because we will eradicate all Al-Shabaab militants and make it safe for the people,” President Mohamud stated.
“We have more experience than when we first entered the war in Galmudug and Hirshabelle states. We’ve learned the tactics of al-Shabab. Our morale tells us that we are capable of defeating them. The government’s current policy is to liberate the country from al Shabab,” He stated. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is the President of Somalia.
The President also stated that the young men fighting for Al-Shabaab still have the option of surrendering and being pardoned by the government.
“Follow al-Shabab under any circumstances; I am making it clear to you today that anyone who defects from al-Shabab will be forgiven. It is not just amnesty; the government is prepared better lives for the defectors,” President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud added.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has urged parents whose children are fighting alongside the al-Shabab group to call their children before they are killed in ongoing operations.
Since launching a major offensive last August, the government and allied clan militias have forced the militants from swathes of territory in central Somalia.
The successes have led some officials to claim al Shabaab is on its last legs.