The Somali National Army (SNA) on Monday said it killed two leaders of the militant group, Al-Shabaab, in Dhurshen, 35 km north of Hudur town, the capital of Bakol region, and 420km southwest of Mogadishu.
The mission was accomplished through in collaboration with vigilantes from the local areas, popularly known as Moawisley.
The Somali National News Agency (SONNA) referred to an unnamed Somali army officials from the 9th Division, serving under Section 60 of the SNA, saying that the Shabaab leaders who were killed were identified as Ahmed Morabagey and Ali Garweyne.
Morabagey and Garweyne were identified as active agents in charge of isolating Hudur town through control of the incoming and outgoing traffic routes. The duo was also identified as collectors of illegal taxes and extortion money for the jihadist group.
According to SONNA, the army officials vowed that the operations will continue until Hudur town is freed from Al-Shabaab blockade.
The Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group does not control most of the towns in Somalia but they maintain firm grips on vast rural areas, enabling them to blockade the urban areas, forcing people to mainly travel by air between towns.
Fight Shabaab by all means
After he was re-elected in May this year, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed to fight Al-Shabaab by all means — militarily, economically and even ideologically.
Since September this year, the government has been encouraging local clansmen to arm themselves and go against Al-Shabaab under the theme of ‘liberate your land from the ruthless clutches of Al-Shabaab.’
Some successes has been achieved in Bakol, Hiran, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Galgadud and Mudug regions in Southern and Central Somalia.
Since Saturday, President Mohamud has been touring anti-Shabaab operation areas including towns such as Wisil in Modug region, Bahdo in Galgadud region, Mahas and Beledweyne in Hiran region in a move to show solidarity with the forces, Somali army and local vigilantes tackling Al-Shabaab.