Jawhar — The Uganda People's Defence Forces under the Uganda Battle Group (UGABAG) on Sunday captured a key town in Somalia.
The Somali National Army with the support of the Africa Union Mission in Somali (AMISOM) troops captured the town of Jawhar, 90km northwest of Mogadishu.
AMISOM comprises forces from Uganda, Kenya and Burundi, which operate in four sectors in Somalia.
Uganda operates two sectors, while Kenya and Burundi operate one each. UPDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Felix Kulayige said Uganda's force in Somalia was continuing with its objective of extending Somalia federal government control over the entire Somalia.
"The capture of Jawhar will help bring peace and stability in Somalia. It challenges countries that have not yet sent their forces to participate in bringing peace in Somalia to do so. It is gratifying to Uganda that our efforts are yielding fruit," Kulayige remarked.
A statement from AMISOM says the joint forces faced little resistance as they entered the town, which has served as a major base for the al-Shabaab as they have been pushed out of other areas in southern Somalia.
"The capture of Jawhar will go a long way towards improving security for the civilian population in Hiira, the lower and middle Shabelle regions," said AMISOM Force commander Lt. Gen. Andre Gutti
"Our joint forces are consolidating the city's defences. I appeal to the residents to remain calm," he added.
Gutti congratulated the Somali National Army troops on the achievement, noting that AMISOM was continuing to enhance them through training and mentoring.
The spokesperson of UGABAG, Henry Obbo, said Jawhar was one of the major final assault points left in sector one under Uganda.
Commercial activity across the country has picked up as businesses make remarkable improvements due to the security situation over the last 18 months.
On Sunday, commercial flights were launched between Mogadishu and Beltweyne, the regional capital of Hiiran.
This follows the launch of similar flights between Mogadishu and the southern port city of Kismayo last week Jawhar is the capital town of the Shabeellaha Dhexe region of Somalia.
Along with Baidoa, Jawhar used to be the joint administrative capital of the Transitional Federal Government, which captured it from the Islamic Courts Union.