Somalia
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Al-Shabab attacks on Somali military base in Gedo region


Wednesday July 5, 2023

Kismayo (HOL) - Al-Shabab militants carried out an attack on a Somali military base in the Geriley area of the Gedo region on Tuesday evening, as reported by officials and residents.

The battle ensued after an assault on the Geriley base, one of seven bases handed over to Somali security forces by ATMIS last week. The federal government, with support from Jubbaland Dervish forces, engaged in intense fighting with the militants, resulting in casualties of an unknown number.

Jubbaland security minister, Yusuf Hussein Osman Dhumal, confirmed that the Somali army still maintains control of the Geriley base in the Gedo region but did not disclose any information regarding casualties.

The seven FOBs – Xaaji Cali, Miirtugo, Cadale, Albao, Gherille, Aljazeera 1 and Marka Ayub – now have Somali Security Forces (SSF) personnel in charge.

The last two, Gherille FOB in the Gedo region of Jubaland State, was under the responsibility of ATMIS Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), while Aljazeera outside Mogadishu was the responsibility of ATMIS Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).

Jubbaland Vice President Mohamud Sayid Adan expressed deep concern over the withdrawal of ATMIS troops, describing it as an ill-conceived plan. In an interview with VOA Somali, the Vice President stated that al-Shabaab militants could have seized a significant opportunity with the handover of military bases from ATMIS to the Somali army.

“The people who relied on the security provided by ATMIS forces now could face a security threat, as al-Shabaab carries out retaliatory actions against those who oppose them,” he emphasized the need to halt the withdrawal, highlighting that it had been discussed numerous times within the forum. Adan also claimed that the previous government was behind the withdrawal plan.

The concerns expressed by the Jubbaland Vice President come two days after Kenyan’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Francis Ogolla's visit to Kismayo, the administrative capital of Jubbland State. This visit marked Gen Ogolla's first trip to Somalia as the CDF.

The visit also comes ahead of the planned withdrawal of regional troops from Somalia amid increased attacks by the al Shabaab terrorists.

The ATMIS was expected to withdraw 2,000 troops by the end of June and another 3,000 by September in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which mandate the ATMIS to also hand over security responsibilities in agreed areas to Somali security forces.