UPDF captures Key Somali Airfield From Al-shabaab

Battle-hardened Ugandan Troops in Somalia
Battle-hardened Ugandan Troops in Somalia

The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) on Monday evening captured Jawar in the middle Shabelle region after a brief battle with the al Qaeda-linked militias. The airfield located 100 kilometres north east of Mogadishu is the latest to fall to the UPDF in an offensive that is backed by the Somali national army. The capture of Jawar Airfield comes four days after allied forces pushed Al Shabaab militias out of three towns in Lower Shabelle region. On the morning of February 14, the UPDF captured the strategic towns of Barrire, Aw dheegle, and Janaale that are situated along river Shabelle. Brigadier Michael Ondoga, the Ugandan contingent commander, says the allied forces will continue to pursue Al shabaab militias until they abandon rebellion and join the peace process. Ondoga says the allied forces did not incur any casualties during the capture of the airport. Major Henry Obbo, the Ugandan Contingent Spokesperson, says the capture of the airfield will provide an opportunity for the allied forces to provide security to the residents of Jawar. Obbo says two other airfields, Balidoogle and KM-50, which were recently captured from the Al Shabaab have begun receiving flights and plans are underway for their renovation. Uganda provides the bulk of the 17,600 strong Amisom force deployed to stabilize Somalia, a country that has been without a functioning government since the fall of General Siad Barre in 1991. The other countries with troops in the war-torn Somalia include Kenya, Djibouti, Burundi and Sierra Leone. The UN Security Council resolution mandates Amisom to conduct peace enforcement operations against hostile forces, using necessary appropriate force.

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