Joint forces clear dangerous route in Somalia

In an operation conducted on the morning of August 16, 2023, the joint forces of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the Somali National Army (SNA) achieved a significant milestone by opening up a critical 14-kilometer route connecting Beledul-amin to Qoryoley in the lower Shabelle region.

The primary objective of the route clearance operation was to restore freedom of movement for travelers and facilitate the transportation of goods from Qoryoley to Mogadishu and other regions.

Over the past years, this route had been abandoned by travelers due to the persistent threat of numerous bombs planted by the notorious Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

During the joint operation, the forces made a discovery, uncovering two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the vicinity of Dalbyang Bridge. The IEDs, identified as a pressure plate and a remote-controlled device, were promptly neutralized by the ATMIS Counter Improvised Explosive Device team, ensuring the safety of the joint forces and civilians.

The opening of the Beledul-amin-Qoryoley route marks a step in the second phase of the ATMIS drawdown. As part of their mandate, the joint forces are now actively engaged in conducting offensive operations to deny Al-Shabaab militants the freedom to carry out their activities and to empower the Somali Security Forces to assume full security responsibility in the liberated areas.

“The Al-Shabaab militants have resorted to the placement of IEDs on main supply routes as a desperate strategy to impede movement and hinder the supply of goods,” stated Abdullahi Hassan Ganale, the spokesperson for the ATMIS forces.

“Their leadership is growing increasingly concerned as the second phase of the joint forces’ Somali CONOPS approaches, which will launch decisive operations against them, aiming to completely degrade Al-Shabaab and drive them out of their hideouts.”

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