Somali Defence Minister & SNA Chief visit troops in Hiiraan as new areas are liberated

24.8.2022: Beledweyne, Somalia

The 27th division of the Somali National Army (SNA) station in the Hiran region of Hirshabelle State of Somalia have liberated new areas surrounding the regional capital of Beledweyne that were previously under the brutal rule of Al-Shabab.

Somali State Media announced that the SNA had completed successful operations in the region which helped liberated areas including Jaburow and Wardhabeel which are just west of Beledweyne, Hiran.

Visit by Defence Minister and SNA Chief

The Somali Defence Minister, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur alongside the head of the Somali National Army, General Odowaa Yusuf Raage made a surprise visit to Somali soldiers stationed in the frontlines of the ever-intensifying battlefield in Hiran as the Somali Federal Government continues its push to liberate central Somalia.

The Minister and General Raage commended and applauded the bravery of the soldiers fighting against the militant group while encouraging them to continue their momentum and offensive against Al-Shabab to liberate more areas in the region.

During a visit to local residents, General Odowaa Raage spoke before local militia groups that provided support for the Somali National Army in the region. Raage assured the residents that the SNA and the Somali Federal Government will do everything in its power and disposal to maintain control of the newly liberated towns while urging citizens to work with government forces by providing critical intelligence which will help security forces identify militants and bases in the region. This would hinder Al-Shabab positions in the area and prevent the group from re-establishing itself again.

General Raage also thanked local militia groups for their bravery and sacrifice as they serve alongside regular SNA soldiers in the frontline against Al-Shabab.

Consolidating Gains

The visit by senior officials from the Ministry of Defence comes only weeks after the Somali National Army liberated large swathes of towns and villages in the Mahaas region of Hiran including Teedaan, Ragso, Hasan Raqay and Sulmo.

SNA operations in the Hiran region are currently led by the commander of the SNA Ground Forces, General Mohamed Tahlil Bihi and have made strong gains in recent weeks:

  • On the 18th of August, Somali forces liberated more areas in the region including El-Heley, Nuurfanah and Beerhano where 17 militants were killed.
  • Just ten days ago, the SNA announced that during operations in Hiran, the Al-Shabab commander in the region known as Maxamed Wehliye Waasuge was killed in combat by Somali soldiers.
  • The Somali Federal Government has continued pressure on the group. A jointly coordinated airstrike with USAFRICOM forces on 14th of August saw 13 militants killed in the Teedaan region of Mahaas.

Operations against Al-Shabab positions in central Somalia began last year when SNA forces liberated large swathes of Mudug which saw dozens of militants killed.

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