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War on Al-Shabaab: A Look at President Mohamud’s Two Year War Against Terrorism

GOOBJOOG NEWS: Since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took over office two years ago, the Somali government forces alongside community defence forces with the backing of the international allies have waged a decisive war against the Al-Shabaab militant group.

During the first phase, the government forces managed to liberate several areas in the central and southern parts of the country which had been under the Al-Shabaab control for 15 years.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has stated that his government is committed to completing the last phase of the operation which aims to wipe out remnants of Al-Shabaab militants in southern parts of the country.

Since September 2022, the Somali people have stood by the federal government as it battled the militants in Hiraan, Galgaduud and Middle Shabelle regions which had been the group’s strongholds.

The federal government waged the war using three strategies; weakening the groups’ military power through direct combat action, countering the group ideologically and cutting off the groups’ revenue sources.

Ideological War

In order to counter the Al-Shabaab militants’ propaganda, the government closed down media outlets on Facebook, Telegram and various websites that were being used to spread the group’s information. Additionally, the government closely partnered with religious leaders to counter Al-Shabaab’s misinterpretation of Islamic teaching and set the record straight thus cutting off more recruits to the militant group through false teachings.

Economic Warfare  

The federal government also took measures to cut off revenue sources for the Al-Shabaab which had been extorting money from businesspeople in Mogadishu and other parts of the country.

Through the federal government’s intervention, several accounts belonging to the group were closed, making it difficult for the group to transfer funds to support their operations.

The closure of the accounts also disrupted the group’s external financial sources, especially from foreign financiers and also served as a relief for local businessmen who had suffered years of extortion by the group.

Military Combat

While announcing the war against Al-Shabaab, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the war will be fought in three phases; the 1st phase which covered Galmudug and Hirshabelle areas, the second phase which targeted South West and the last phase would stretch to the southerly state of Jubbaland.

The National Forces with support from its international allies launched targeted operations that managed to liberate several cities and towns across the country which had been under the Al-Shabaab control for over 15 years.

The federal government then embarked on delivering crucial services to the residents living in newly liberated areas particularly in Aden Yabal, Harardhere and Eeldheer.

Lifting of the arms embargo

In a major boost towards the federal government of Somalia’s efforts to eliminate the Al-Shabaab militants from the country, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) lifted  the three-decades old arms embargo that had been imposed on Somalia.

The lifting of the arms embargo by the UNSC on December 12 2023, meant that the federal government could now purchase military hardware and hence boost the capacity of its armed forces to effectively defend the country against security threats posed by the Al-Shabaab.

As the two years of president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud comes to an end, it is evident that the Al-Shabaab’s ability to wage war against the people of Somalia has been significantly degraded, which has seen several militia members surrender to government forces.