Somali military has announced new offensives against the militant group Al-Shabaab to liberate areas it holds in HirShabelle state.
The commander of the 16th Division of the military Abdimalik Moalim said Monday the forces had been put on standby ahead of operations in the Middle Shabelle to flush out the militants amid increase attacks by the group.
“We have our commandos in Jubbaland, Galmudug and South West but we’re moving some to HirShabelle for operations,” Moalim said.
The military move comes amid increased attacks by Al-Shabaab along the Jowhar-Mogadishu highway.
The group killed HirShabelle agriculture minister Abdikadir Hassan mid this month barely a month after abducting and killing another lawmaker.
The operations are also seen as preparations for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in
HirShabelle which are expected to happen later in the year. The country is also preparing for general elections this year.