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Sacrifice all for motherland, President Farmaajo tells army

Storyline:National News

We all took a vow to defend our country and religion. I know that you are leaving today and if you die, you will be martyrs.

President Mohamed Farmaajo told soldiers at Jazeera base Saturday he was ready to go to the battle field with them against Al-Shabaab. Photo: Villa Somalia

I am ready to join you in the battle field to liberate our country from Al-Shabaab, President Mohamed Farmaajo told the military Saturday calling on them to ready for a major offensive following a deadly attack in Mogadishu which has claimed over 300 lives.

Addressing the military Saturday in Jazeera base, the president implored upon the soldiers to defend the country noting Somalis were ready to support with their lives and property.

“Those peace haters [Al-Shabaab] that don’t allow peace for the Somali people; they forget that Somali nation has brave people like you who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the nation,” the president clad in military gear told the soldiers.

President Farmaajo has directed blame on the militant group Al-Shabaab which has so far remained mute. A truck loaded with explosives drove into the city last Saturday afternoon ramming into vehicles before blowing up killing 358 people. Another 56 are still missing and are feared to have perished at the scene given the intensity of the fire which erupted as the truck hit an oil tanker.

“I am ready to join you in the front-lines and endanger my life,” the president said, adding, “The Somali public is ready today to defend their sovereignty through their lives and properties.”

President Farmaajo has convened a National Security Council meeting next Saturday bringing together himself and regional state presidents.

“You are the pioneers of this struggle. We all took a vow to defend our country and religion. I know that you are leaving [to the front-line] today and if you die, you will be martyrs,” the president said.

The president’s call comes amid reports he will be travelling to neighboring countries to seek military support as he plans to launch a major offensive against Al-Shabaab. The president could also capitalize on the international response for increased support especially in light of the ongoing arms embargo which Somalia has complained it is limiting its war against Al-Shabaab.

International donors were to make commitments to fund the National Security Architecture this month but the timelines have since been adjusted to December this year. It is not clear if the UN will go ahead with the withdrawal of the first batch of 500 soldiers December following the October 14 attack which brought to the fore the fragile security situation in the country.

The president is also expected to appoint a new defence minister following the resignation of Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed days before the Saturday attack.