Hundreds of Somalis took to the streets of several towns across the country on Friday to express their discontent with Al -shabaab militants and express their solidarity for the military’s offensive against militants.
The demonstrations were organized by local communities and came just hours after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said his administration is working ceaselessly to ensure the group’s militants are defeated within the next few months. Residents, according to state media reports, expressed their support for the military and thanked it for a successful first phase of operations, which focused on HirShabelle state and Galmadug state.
The military is currently consolidating the two states before launching a second and possibly final assault against the group.
On Friday, hundreds of Somalis marched in the streets of various towns across the country to demonstrate their support for the country’s military and the government’s efforts to defeat Al Shabaab. The demonstrators held banners and chanted slogans as they marched, a government official said.
A similar demonstration in support of the army was organized in Bahdo on Thursday. State media said the rally was a sign of “growing public support” for the military offensive against Al Shabaab and a “reminder of the need for public participation” in the fight against terrorism. Al Shabaab has carried out random attacks across the country, mostly against innocent civilians and security personnel, resulting in thousands of deaths. The group uses improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and sometimes suicide bombers in their attacks. Over the past 16 years, in addition to extorting ransom from kidnapped people, the group has also collected revenue from local residents. According to a UN report, Al Shabaab can earn up to 120 million dollars a year, which it spends on logistics and weaponry.
In addition to the military offensive, the Somali government has imposed strict restrictions on businessmen who pay taxes to Al Shabaab. The government also closed bank accounts linked to Al-shabaab and mobile money transfer companies involved in the operation.