New Vision (Kampala)

25 November 2012

Somalia: Govt Forces Kill Top Al-Shabaab Commander

Photo: Stuart Price/UN
Suspected members of Al Shabaab(file photo).

The Somalia National Army (SNA), backed by its intelligence and the Police force, have conducted a raid on Sokohola and killed the overall al-Shabaab commander for Gupta, Sokohola, and Huluwai areas.

The al-Shabaab fighters put up a fight, but their commander, who residents identified as Guludupu, was killed on spot, while 16 militants were captured and an assortment of ammunition recovered in the Thursday night raid.

They included 16 submachine guns and four pistols. Sokohola, a Mogadishu suburb, has been a concentration area of al-Shabaab cells, terrorising civilians around Mogadishu, the Somalia capital city.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) - Uganda contingent commander, Brig. Michael Ondoga commended the Somali security forces for "excellence in their operations."

"The Somali national security forces are doing a commendable job in the pacification process of Somalia. As AMISOM, we are committed in giving them support to restore calm in Somalia. We congratulate them in this successful operation which will bring more peace in Mogadishu," Ondoga said.

Brig. Ondoga, according to a statement issued by the Ugandan contingent spokesperson, Maj. Henry Obbo, pointed out that SNA successful raid on al-Shaban was a manifestation of the ever improving capability of the Somali forces.

Ondoga, who is in-charge of Sector One AMISOM operations, added that he was confident that one day, the Somalis themselves will be able to take full charge of their own security.

The SNA operation comes three days after Ugandan and Somali forces seized 11 high explosive bombs meant for terrorism from Sokohola.

The twin swoop on Sokohola by AU and Somali forces, in two months, brings the tally of arms seized to over 30 explosives, 16 submachine guns and 14 pistols.

al-shabaab militants, who are allied to the global terror organisation Al-Qaeda, have been on the back foot since August last year when they were dislodged from Mogadishu.

They have since lost a string of towns, where they had sought safe haven and charged exorbitant illegal taxes to fund their operations.

Somalia has seen anarchy since 1991, when former dictator Siad Barre was deposed. The Horn of Africa nation has seen bloodletting with extremists and terrorists taking the country at intervals and instilling terror among Somalis.

The AU deployed AMISOM in 2007, with Uganda taking the key role. It was followed by Burundi, Sierra Leone and Djibouti.

The peacekeepers were mandated by the UN Security Council to defend the transition government and key installations like the State House, Parliament and the Sea Port.

AMISOM was further empowered to monitor the security situation in areas of operation and to provide technical assistance to stabilisation efforts, including helping to build capabilities of the Somali security forces.

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