In an early morning operation at the weekend the Somali National Army (SNA) backed by African Union forces overran Al Shabaab outposts to capture the key town of Qoryooley in Lower Shabelle.
Located 120 km south-west of Mogadishu, Qoryooley has been under terrorist rule for five years. In the last month, many al Shabaab commanders have fled to the town following a string of defeats by the SNA and AMISOM forces said spokesman Colonel Ali Eden Houmed.
The capture of Qoryooley is seen as critical for AMISOM future operations to liberate the port city of Baraawe, one of the remaining sources of illicit revenue for 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. He said the operation again demonstrated 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 local people can live their lives and pursue their livelihoods in freedom.”
Joint operations between the SNA and AMISOM which began this month have to date liberated eight towns in the various regions around the country, the most recent being Qurunlow town in Middle Shabelle.
Since the UN Security Council boosted AMISOM troop numbers to over 22 000, the forces working closely with SNA have moved to new areas and helped the Somali government by providing a secure environment and recovering more territory, as well as ensuring law, order and justice he said.