Somalia: Anti-Al-Shabaab Offensive to Begin in Lower Shabelle Region

Barawe — The military command in Barawe has announced that they will soon begin an operation to remove Al-Shabaab from the entire Lower Shabelle region.

Abdirahman Ilmi Jimale (Xorogay), who leads the army, promised that in the coming days, Al-Shabaab will take over their positions in the region, so that the roads can be reopened.

He expressed hope that the mission will be successful and that they will link the war to the Galgaduud region, where President Hassan Sheikh is staying for more than a month.

For years, the situation in the Lower Shabelle region has remained dire, with the ongoing violence and the already dire humanitarian conditions threatening the lives and livelihoods of countless innocent civilians.

Al-Shabaab continues to conduct attacks both within Somalia and in neighboring states, targeting civilians, the Somali state, and the African Union Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), who are now leaving the country after 17 years of mission.

Meanwhile, security forces in Somalia that are working to counter al-Shabaab–including forces from the United States, ATMIS, and the Somali government–have all undergone transitions in recent years.

In August 2022, Mohamud launched a “total war” against al-Shabaab. In the first phase, Somali forces concentrated on the central regions of Hirshabelle and Galmudug, supporting local clans that were rebelling against al-Shabaab.

The group had seen public support deteriorate in those areas after it raised taxes on residents to make up for losses incurred from an economic downturn and natural disasters, disregarding the effects of the policy on people’s livelihoods.