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Massive operation launched against 'al-Shabaab' Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali and Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces on Monday launched a massive security operation to flush out Al-Shabaab militants in Middle Shabelle region in southern Somalia.

Israel Kaheru Bagenda, the Commanding Officer of 11 Infantry Battalion of Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), said the operation was launched to also secure main supply routes in the area.

“The purpose of today’s operation is to ensure that we wipe out the Al-Shabaab elements in these general areas, and of course as you are aware that AMISOM is here to support the Somali national security forces who are already moving ahead of us in this operation,” he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The operation, which is conducted jointly with the Somali National Army (SNA) troops, was launched following information received that Al-Shabaab militants were destabilizing areas along Afgooye-Balidoogle road, Afgooye town, mainly around Elasha Biyaha-Mogadishu Road and surrounding areas of Jambalulu, Baghdad and Basra.

The security forces have been opening Main Supply Routes blocked by the insurgents and creating a free and secure environment for the Somali people to thrive.

Aid agencies have said the poor state of main supply routes in south-central Somalia had provided conditions for Al-Shabaab to continue laying ambushes and use explosive devices against AMISOM convoys and Somali national security forces.

Bagenda said the operation will be ongoing to ensure the main supply routes connecting the region and Mogadishu are secured to allow free movement of goods and services.

The exercise, he added, will also improve security in the adjacent areas to enable residents to live in peace, adding that the soldiers were committed to securing Somalia and had played a major role in the stabilization process.

“The Somali National Security Forces, I would say they are on course. Their morale so far is so high that is why they were able to accept to move ahead of us and whatever we do is to support them,” he added.

AMISOM has managed to drive out Al-Shabaab from vast swathes of the country, including key towns in Somalia.



Five al-Shabaab militants killed, seven others arrested in Southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Five Al-Shabaab militants were killed and seven others arrested in military operations at Basra and Jambalul locations in Middle and Lower Shabelle regions of southern Somalia, officials said on Monday.

Government Army Commander Omar Dhere said Somali National Army (SNA) conducted the operations in several areas, mainly Basra near Bal’ad town in Middle Shabelle region and Jambalul location near Afgoye town in Lower Shabelle region.

“The military operations continue from the two regions, Middle Shabelle and Lower Shabelle regions, we killed five Al-Shabaab militants and captured seven others during the operation. We will end such operation against terrorist militants successfully in a short time soon,” Dhere said.

He said the military operation might be affected by bad weather conditions in the region. “It’s raining heavily in Middle Shabelle region now but our soldiers are determined to continue with the operations,” he said.

There was no immediate comment from the Al-Shabaab militants who have stepped up their assault against the government and African Union bases including hotels and other public places.

“This is a preliminary military operation of the national plan to fight terrorist militants in Somalia in which the government announced. The Somali National Army have liberated several areas in the two regions so far, and we are committed to fight with them,” SNA Commander Abdulahi Ali Anod said.

The latest operation comes after the national and federal governments resolved to jointly fight Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa nation.


WHO secures US two million dollar grant to boost health interventions in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia  (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that it has received 2 million U.S. dollar grant to support epidemic disease surveillance and emergency primary health care response activities in Somalia.

WHO Representative in Somalia Ghulam Popal said the risks are particularly high among displaced people and other vulnerable populations already weakened by poverty and poor nutrition.

“Lack of sufficient resources, coupled with limited access to health services and absence of timely detection and response to disease outbreaks have challenged our efforts to provide lifesaving response and prevent disease outbreaks in the country,” Popal said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

Communicable disease outbreaks remain a major public health threat in Somalia. Nearly 5.5 million people are at risk of acquiring cholera, of whom more than half are women and children below 5 years of age.

“The aid grant will help us strengthen coordination with the ministry of health and step up emergency health and epidemic disease surveillance to reduce morbidity and mortality attributed to epidemic-prone diseases,” Popal added.

The UN health agency early this year reported a funding gap estimated at 4 million dollars required to maintain its life-saving response to outbreaks, drought, and malnutrition in Somalia.

The grant will also support the procurement and prepositioning of essential supplies and life-saving medicines in all high-risk areas across Somalia.


African bank seeks to help Somalia restore critical infrastructure

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) said on Monday that it has approved the bank’s Somalia Country Brief 2017-2020, under which it will help Somalia restore its critical infrastructure and build capable institutions.

A statement from the AfDB said the brief identifies ways and means to support the rebuilding of Somalia in line with the country’s 2017-2019 National Development Plan.

“The indicative pipeline of projects will be financed through donor contributions to the Somalia Infrastructure Fund (SIF), resources from the African Development Fund (ADF), and other trust funds managed by the bank,” AfDB said.

The Horn of Africa nation has experienced moderate gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past four years, averaging 3.4 percent per year.

However, due to the on-going drought, real GDP growth in 2017 is projected to decelerate to about 2.4 percent and this, the bank said, would impact negatively on the agriculture and livestock sectors.

The AfDB board emphasized the need for the bank to remain engaged in Somalia despite numerous political, economic, social and environmental challenges facing the country. 



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