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Somali government forces in conjunction with allied fighters from Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamaa have today seized several areas in Gedo, an official said.
A senior commander in the region, Ismail Sheikh Abdi, said pro-government forces took over Gariley district, near the Kenya border, after militant Islamist group al-Shabaab pulled out.
“We shall continue the fight and go deeper into the region to hunt down al-Shabaab loyalists until we free the region from them,” Abdi said.
He added that the militants retreated to Bardhere town from Gariley.
The Islamist group had promised a major offensive in Gedo, where pro-government forces made gains earlier this year, after pulling the majority of its forces out of Mogadishu.
Pro-government toops carrying 24 military vehicles also entered Tulo-Barwako, 25 kilometers south of Garbaharey district, Meykarebey, 20 kilometers north of Garbaharey and Reysqoday, 15 kilometers north, early on Monday.
“This is the last part of the plan to liberate the areas controlled by the extremist,” Abdi Abdulahi Abbey John, TFG military officer in Gedo, told Somalia Report. “Everyone can understand, even al-Shabaab fighters, that the time of al-Shabaab is over."
Al-Shabaab chairman in Gedo region, Sheikh Abbas Abdulahi, confirmed to Somalia Report that his troops vacated four villages in the region, but said it was due to military tactics and refused more to comment further.
"Only two districts are left in their hands. In the next few days, the region will be free,” Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, ASWJ spokesman in southern Somalia, told Somalia Report. “We are declaring an amnesty: everyone should surrender himself to us before we reach Bardhere and Burdube districts.”