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The fight against Al-Shabab has become the top priority for both ATMIS and Somali government as the drawdown of troops enters a critical phase.
On Sunday, senior military and police officers of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) met with the Hirshabelle State police officers and resolved to increase the fight against al-Shabab in Jowhar in the south-central part of the country.
ATMIS Burundi Contingent Commander Jean Claude Niyiburana, who chaired the meeting to discuss ways of boosting cooperation to secure the Jowhar region against al-Shabab, said they had good exchanges, good discussions on how they can work together, plan operations to fight al-Shabab terrorists effectively.
"We agreed that we will continue with such meetings to exchange information and plan operations," Niyiburana said, adding that the fight against Al-Shabab has become the top priority for both ATMIS and Somali government as the drawdown of troops enters a critical phase.
The AU mission said it has stepped up preparations for the withdrawal of 2,000 soldiers by June 30 from Somalia. The engagement between ATMIS and Somali Police in Hirshabelle State would pave the way for a speedy and successful operation against al-Shabab terrorists.
250,000 people are now homeless in Somalia due to extreme flooding, despite the country experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. The disruption we are seeing on British streets is nothing compared to what's coming if we do not stop licensing new oil, gas and coal. pic.twitter.com/09gLtBILFV
Hirshabelle State Police Commissioner Hassan Di'isow Hassan described the meeting as a positive step toward strengthening joint efforts to degrade al-Shabab and other armed groups.
"We discussed ways of fighting al-Shabaab and liberating areas under their control. As you know there are ongoing operations against the militants in Hirshabelle. The areas east of River Shabelle were stabilized and liberated and the aim was to plan on how to liberate the remaining areas west of River Shabelle," he said.
His team also inspected the joint operations center (JOC) in Jowhar which supports the coordination and planning of operations between the allied forces.
The ATMIS Police Reforms Advisor in Jowhar Rogers Chebene said ATMIS and Somali Police had resolved to work closely in countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) commonly used by the militant group to target civilians and security officers.
"The focus is to organize refresher training for local officers who had earlier completed EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) training. They need to be trained on how to use equipment recently donated by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to neutralize IEDs planted on roadsides," Chebene said.
Other key issues discussed and agreed upon during the meeting included the inclusion of Hirshabelle State police officers in the joint operations center and engaging Somali Police officers in different policing aspects.