The Somali army has liberated the strategic town of Adanyabal in the Middle Shabelle region from the Al-Shabaab terrorists, the nation’s President confirmed on Tuesday, Anadolu News Agency reports.
Addressing the public via the state television, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who previously announced a “total war” against the terrorists, said the terrorists fled the town before the army, backed by local clan militia, arrived and abducted civilians to use them as human shields.
“They are cowards; they fled the town without putting up any fight. Al-Shabaab is a history now,” Mahamud said.
He called on the citizens to unite and support the ongoing military offensives against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group.
Residents in the area told Anadolu Agency that the terrorists removed the pumps from the two water wells in the town before it left it.
Adanyabal is a strategic town that has been the stronghold of terrorists since 2016 and located 245 kilometres (152 miles) north of the capital, Mogadishu.
The government forces backed by local clan militias have liberated large swathes of territories mainly in the state of Hirshabele from the group since Mahamud announced the war on Al-Shabaab terrorists.
On Wednesday, Somali Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre said the government has waged a multi-pronged assault on Al-Shabaab militants militarily, financially and ideologically.
He said the security operation has, so far, killed 600 and 1,200 wounded within three months.
The government, Barre said, has for the first time succeeded in forming common ground among major religious scholars in countering the militant ideologies of all terrorist groups.
Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with Al-Shabaab being one of the main threats.
Since at least 2007, Al-Shabaab has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces, claiming thousands of lives.
The UN has also warned of growing instability in the country, with its periodic reports on Somalia this year detailing attacks by Al-Shabaab and pro-Daesh groups.
There were at least 1,518 civilian casualties – 651 killed and 867 injured – in terrorist attacks in Somalia in 2018, followed by 1,459 – 591 killed and 868 injured – in 2019, according to UN estimates.