News / Africa

Somali Defense Minister: We Will Liberate Barawe from Al-Shabab

Al-Shabaab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia, Oct. 21, 2010.
Al-Shabaab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia, Oct. 21, 2010.
Gabe Joselow
Somalia’s defense minister says operations will begin soon to liberate the town of Barawe, which is under the control of Islamist militant group al-Shabab.  The town was the site of a U.S. Special Forces raid on Saturday targeting a militant commander.

Speaking to VOA in Mogadishu, Somali Defense Minister Abdulhakim Haji Faqi said operations would begin soon to remove al-Shabab from their stronghold in the coastal town of Barawe, south of Mogadishu, as well as other areas under militant control.

“We intend and plan to liberate them very soon.  And as you know, really, al-Shabab, wherever we attack them, they do not fight back, they do not defend, they just evacuate and run,” he said.

Barawe became a key base for al-Shabab after Kenyan forces drove the militants from their former stronghold - the port city of Kismayo - last year.

During the weekend, U.S. Navy commandos landed on the shores of Barawe in an operation to capture an al-Shabab commander holed up in a militant safe house.  But the U.S. soldiers were forced to retreat after coming under heavy fire.

The U.S. Defense Department said the operation failed to capture the target of the raid, a Kenyan Somali who went by the name Ikrima, said to be linked to past terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania.

Minister Faqi said he welcomed all efforts to weaken and defeat al-Shabab, and called for more international support for security forces in the country.

He said the militant group’s siege on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi last month showed the threat extends beyond Somalia’s borders.

“The issue of al-Shabab is not only a Somali issue only today, as you know.  As the Westgate Mall attack, this is a wakeup call for the international community, for the countries in the East African region to help Somali security sectors and Somali government to defeat al-Shabab,” said Faqi.

In 2011 and 2012, al-Shabab was pushed out of Somalia's major cities, including the capital, under pressure from the African Union-led peacekeeping force known as AMISOM.

Faqi said forward progress against the al-Qaida linked militants has slowed in the past year as the fight moved further away from the cities, stretching the capacity of AMISOM and Somali forces to protect liberated areas.

The United Nations Security Council is due to review the AMISOM mandate this month, and is expected to decide on a temporary boost in troop numbers.

Minister Faqi is due to attend a parliamentary hearing Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers about Barawe and the security situation at large.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More