The Somali National army, supported by Ugandan units of AMISOM, on Monday (February 18th) captured the strategic airfield of Jowhar, located 100kms north east of Mogadishu. A Ugandan spokesman, Major Henry Obbo, said the airfield, 20 kms from Jowhar town, was taken over after minimal resistance from fleeing Al-Shabaab fighters.
Allied forces had no losses. The town of Jowhar was taken by Somali government forces and AMISOM in December. The Ugandan contingent commander, Brigadier Michael Ondoga, said Somali troops and AMISOM forces will continue to pressure the weakening Al-Shabaab until it completely disengages from terrorist activities, to provide a more conducive atmosphere to the Somali peace process.
The capture of Jowhar airfield will widen the Somali Government's area of control and provide better opportunities to ensure protection for large areas of Middle Shabelle region including the regional capitalof Jowhar. It will also improve opportunities for reconstruction in the transport sector and other infrastructure.
Balidoogle air base and KM-50 airfield which were recently captured from Al Shabaab have already begun to receive flights; plans are underway for the renovation of both. Four days before the capture of Jowhar airfield, Al-Shabaab was also pushed out of three towns in Lower Shabelle.