Somalia condemns Al-Shabaab’s blockade in Baidoa, fear of escalating humanitarian crisis

The Somali government has condemned the week-long blockade by the militant group Al-Shabaab in Baidoa, amid fears that the move could escalate a humanitarian crisis in the southwestern region.

Villa Somalia chief of staff Hussein Sheikh Mohamud said the blockade was ‘the last kicks of a dying horse’ and urged the people of Baidoa and the entire South West state to ‘unite against the group.’

Sources have reported that Al-Shabaab imposed the blockade on July 11 and has sustained its restrictions barring vehicles to and from the town. Traders have complained that supplies to the town have since ceased, pushing food prices higher.

Baidoa is already struggling with an internally displaced persons (IDP) crisis, as more than one million people driven from their homes by hunger and Al-Shabaab are pitched in make-shift tents across the city. The blockade has worsened the situation, with residents unable to access basic necessities such as food, water, and medical supplies.

Al-Shabaab has maintained its grip in all three regions of South West state, namely Lower Shabelle, Bay, and Bakool. The group has been responsible for numerous attacks against the Somali government and civilians, including suicide bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings.

The blockade comes ahead of an expected second phase of the government-led operations against Al-Shabaab, focusing on the southern belt which covers South West and Jubaland states.

The government has been working to eliminate Al-Shabaab’s presence in the country and restore peace and stability to the region.

The Somali government has called on the international community to support its efforts to combat terrorism and promote development in the country.

The government has been working to improve the security situation, strengthen institutions, and address the root causes of conflict and instability.

The Somali government has vowed to continue its fight against terrorism and work towards a peaceful and prosperous future for all Somalis.

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