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Somali News

AMISOM Launches Attack Against Al-Shabab in Somalia

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African Union troops in Somalia have launched an operation to flush out al-Shabab militants from the Lower Shabelle region and secure main supply routes in the area.

Witnesses told VOA Somali they saw AU troops along a road and in a farming area between the towns of Afgoye and Bal’ad, while noting that al-Shabab did not have a major presence in the area Monday.

The AU Mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, said in a statement that it launched the operation after receiving information that Al-Shabab was “destabilizing” a key road linking Mogadishu to Ballidogle airport, 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of the capital.

US advisers train Somali troops

Ballidogle is an airbase in the Lower Shabelle region where U.S. advisers train Somali military units.

Units from the Somali National Army also participated in the operation. Both AMISOM and Somali government officials have promised a major offensive against al-Shabab starting with the two regions neighboring Mogadishu Lower and Middle Shabelle.

It’s unclear if today’s attack on al-Shabab is part of the major offensive touted by Somali and AU forces, but AMISOM says operations against Al-Shabab militants will be “phased.”

Bombing sparks offensive

It has been two years since the AU launched an offensive against Al-Shabab

The Somali government pledged the new offensive after the Oct. 14 truck bomb in Mogadishu that killed 358 people with 56 others missing and presumed dead.

Meanwhile on Monday, Al-Shabab has executed four men accused of “spying” for the Somali government and Ethiopian troops operating as part of AMISOM. The men were taken to a public square in the town of Buale in Middle Juba region where they executed by firing squad.

Somaliland

Protests in Somaliland As Opposition Claim Election Fraud

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Wadani Party supporters took to the streets of various opposition strongholds to protest what they claim to be election irregularities.

In Burco police used live bullets to disperse protestors.

Riots erupted hours after senior Wadani officials held a press conference on Thursday morning, accusing the ruling party of purchasing and using ballot papers forged with NEC’s official stamp.

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Somali News

Pentagon says more than 500 US troops now in Somalia, but denies ‘build up’

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The Pentagon announced in a statement Thursday there are now “more than” 500 US troops on the ground in Somalia.

A significant increase from early 2014 when roughly two dozen troops arrived for the first time since 1993 and the Black Hawk Down incident.

US Africa Command says there have been 28 airstrikes this year, mostly from drones against al-Shabaab, long considered the greatest terror threat in Africa.

At a press conference Thursday at the Pentagon, a top defense official denied any “ramp-up.”

“I do not believe necessarily there’s a ramp-up,” said Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff when asked about the spike in airstrikes in Somalia. “It’s the density of targets is such that now there’s some of opportunities to do those strikes.”

The US military recently conducted six straight days of airstrikes in Somalia from last Thursday to Tuesday.

Last month, al-Shabaab was blamed for a truck bombing in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu which killed over 300 people.

The head of the Pentagon’s joint staff said there’s no link between the fall of the ISIS capital Raqqa last month, and the first airstrikes against ISIS in Yemen and Somalia.

US DRONE STRIKE IN SOMALIA KILLS ‘SEVERAL AL-SHABAAB MILITANTS, MILITARY SAYS

Earlier this month, the US conducted the first airstrikes against ISIS in Somalia.

McKenzie also denied the increase of hundreds of additional troops in Somalia as a “build up,” but just a “flow of forces in and out” of the country.

In May, a Navy SEAL was killed fighting al-Shabaab, the first combat death in Somalia since 1993.

In addition to Somalia, the US military has conducted over 100 airstrikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen, including the first strikes against ISIS in Yemen last month.

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Briefing Room

UNSC votes to extend sanctions on Eritrea and Somalia

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The United Nations Security Council has voted to extend an arms embargo imposed on Eritrea and Somalia for allegedly supporting al-Shabaab. The decision comes barely a week after a panel of experts called for the lifting of sanctions particularly on Somalia. CGTN’s Liling Tan filed this report from New York

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BARTAMAHA TV

MADAXWEYNE FARMAAJO “SABABTA DALKU 10 SANO DAGAAL UGU JIRO WAA DANLEEYDA SIYAASADEED”

AMISOM TROOP DRAWDOWN WILL ‘SHOCK’ SOMALIA, EXPERT

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