Major General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhiyeddin Addow, the Commander of Somalia’s National Army, has expressed uncertainty regarding the participation of frontline countries in the planned second phase of military operations against the extremist group al-Shabaab.
In an interview with VOA Somali, Major General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhiyeddin highlighted the absence of visible preparations by Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, casting doubt on their immediate and direct involvement in “Operation Black Lion.”
Uncertainty Over Frontline Countries’ Participation:
Major General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhiyeddin voiced his uncertainty regarding the willingness of frontline countries to participate in the upcoming military operations against al-Shabaab.
He stated that no official communication has been received from these countries indicating their continued participation. Additionally, he noted the absence of visible preparations, which are typically conducted prior to launching an operation.
While waiting for a decision from the frontline countries, he expressed doubts about their involvement in the current efforts.
Successful First Phase and Commitment to Anti-al-Shabaab Operations:
During the first phase of military operations, Somali government forces, supported by local clan militias, made significant progress in reclaiming territory from al-Shabaab militants and neutralizing hundreds of them.
Major General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhiyeddin reiterated the commitment of the Somali government to continue the fight against al-Shabaab and liberate the country from their grip. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the participation of frontline countries, he emphasized that anti-al-Shabaab operations will persist.
Joint Agreement Among Frontline Countries:
In February, President William Ruto of Kenya, President Ismail Omer Guelleh of Djibouti, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia held a meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu. During the meeting, they reached an agreement to collaboratively plan and organize a robust operational search and destroy campaign against al-Shabaab.
The operation aimed to target key al-Shabaab strongholds across south and central Somalia. The three countries also contribute troops to the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), an African Union mandated peacekeeping force.
The uncertainty surrounding the participation of frontline countries in the second phase of military operations against al-Shabaab raises questions about the potential impact on the effectiveness and scope of the operation.
The Somali government, however, remains steadfast in its commitment to combating the Al-Shabab group and bringing stability to the country.