Somali National Army forces with the support of AMISOM troops captured the town of Jowhar on Sunday. Jowhar, one of the last large towns held by Al-Shabaab, is in the Middle Shebelle region, on the Shebelle River 90 kilometers north of Mogadishu.
Its capture opens up the road into Hiiraan region and to Belet Weyne where AMISOM's Djibouti's troops are now in charge of security. The joint Somali Army and AMISOM forces faced little resistance as they entered Jowhar which has been a major base for Al-Shabaab over the last few months. Eyewitnesses were quoted as saying that Al-Shabaab fled the town after the government forces and AMISOM advanced towards it on Saturday.
AMISOM's Force Commander, Lt. General Gutti said the joint forces were now consolidating the city's defenses and he appealed to the residents to remain calm. He described the capture of Jowhar as going " a long way towards improving security for the civilian population in Hiiraan and the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. Lt. General Gutti who congratulated the Somali National Army troops on their success, said AMISOM would continue to enhance the capability of the Somali National Army through training and mentoring.
He noted "AMISOM is building up the capacity of the Somali National Army to train its troops within Somalia and we have already begun courses for Somali trainers at the Al Jazira Military Training Base."