The fall of the strategic town of Bardhere yesterday from Al-Shabaab control has not gone done without local political power play on who should take credit for the victory.
While AMISOM and Somali National Army have been spearheading the liberation offensive under the ‘Operation Jubba Corridor’ banner, local entities including the Jubba Administration and the moderate Islamist group Ahlu Sunna al Jamaa have come up to claim credit for the recapture of Bardhere.
Jubbaland vice president General Abdullaahi Fartag told Goobjoog News Thursday Jubbaland forces with support of AMISOM captured Bardhere after a sustained offensive.
The operation being undertaken by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) troops follows recent successful operations that have seen the militants pushed out of most regions of the country,” said AMISOM.
“I thank the people of Jubbaland for their support which has seen us capture Bardhere. This is only the start of a long offensive by Jubbaland forces and AMISOM to recover the whole of Middle Jubba,” said Fartag.
Ahlu Sunna has also claimed that its fighters were responsible for the fall of Bardhere but did not indicate whether it worked with AMISOM or SNAon the mission.
However Col Abbas Ibrahim Gurey from SNA said the capture of Bardhere was a joint operation between AMISOM and Somali troops. “We have secured the city and we can now assure the people of Bardhere that we are in full control. AMISOM and SNA have worked on this for some time now and we are proud of the victory,” said Gurey.
AMISOM on Sunday issued a statement that its forces in collaboration with SNA were involved in an operation in the larger Gedo region.” A military offensive against Al Shabaab in the Bay and Gedo regions of Somalia, codenamed ‘Operation Jubba Corridor’ is underway with the aim of flushing out the terrorist group from the rural areas,” read the statement.
Kenya Defence Forces spokesman Col David Obonyo also yesterday said the operation was a joint SNA/AMISOM initiative. “AMISOM forces together with Somalia National Army (SNA) have captured the strategic Bardhere Bridge. The capture of the bridge was a culmination of AMISOM operation ‘Juba Corridor’ which started on 14th July 2015. The operation commenced from Fafadun and involved the liberation of a series of towns from Tarako, Jungal – bombarded by artillery a week ago and Tawakal,” he said.