Al-Shabaab set up blockades & cut off roads leading to recently AMISOM captured towns
Mogadishu (Harar24) – After a month of the start of the AMISOM led offensive against Al-Shabaab, the Islamist movement after losing several towns including Bulo-burde have begun blocking and cutting off roads leading to some major towns in an attempt to cut off the supplies of AMISOM forces.
According to several reports from AMISOM captured towns in south and central Somalia Al-Shabaab have successfully put blockades on roads leading to cities such as Hudur, Bulo-burde, Wajid and Qoryoley. Residents in the surrounding areas have mentioned that heavily armed Al-Shabaab forces have cut off and blockaded roads leading to the aforementioned cities.
Government officials including the governor of the Lower Shabelle province Abdiqadir Sidi have voiced their concerns regarding this new tactic being employed by Al-Shabaab fighters. According to officials residents are unable to return to their respective towns due to the blockades set up by the militants.
Al-Shabaab commanders have justified the setting up the blockades by mentioning that no civilians are left in those town but rather only “occupying invaders”, thus in their view no supply lines for civilians are being cut off, rather only AMISOM & Somali forces.
According to several sources, Al-Shabaab’s appointed commanders for the Bay & Bakol provinces held meetings with local clan elders, who then came to an agreement with Al-Shabaab that the towns of Hudur & Wajid would be left vacant in order to strangle the Ethiopian forces supply lines. Similarly the Al-Shabaab appointed governor for the Lower Shabelle “Abu Abdalla” announced that they had completely cut the supply lines to Qoryoley after the fleeing of its residents.
The latest example of Al-Shabaab’s blockades occurred yesterday when two vehicles were burned completely by the militants who claimed the vehicles were carrying the narcotic known as “khat”, which has been ruled as illegal by the militants.
It’s not the first time such a tactic is being employed by Al-Shabaab, in 2012 after the Ethiopians took over the towns of Hudur & El-Bur, Al-Shabaab resorted to similar tactics which eventually forced the Ethiopians to leave the cities after several months. However, it appears as if the Al-Shabaab movement are now enforcing this on an even larger scale.