AFRICA

Somalia urges citizens to avoid al-Shabab amid offensives

Since at least 2007, the terrorist group has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces.

Since at least 2007, the terrorist group has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces (PHOTO/Courtesy)

MOGADISHU, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) — The Somali government has called on citizens to stay away from territories controlled by al-Shabab terrorists amid an all-out war against the insurgents across the country.

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism reaffirmed the government’s commitment to fighting the terror group until they are completely eliminated from Somalia and ensures that it is no longer a threat to the region and the world.

“Citizens are also warned to stay away from regions taken by the al-Shabab as the Somalia National Army (SNA) and local forces will continue with the ruthless raids against these violent extremists,” the ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday night.

The ministry said al-Shabab insurgents who have been waging a war against the government for several years continue to ruin and plunder Somalia and neighboring countries. It said the government forces supported by local clan militia launched major offensives in central Somalia’s Hiran region in the past 24 hours, reclaiming territories in the region.

Several al-Shabab fighters have been killed and others injured while several more have been captured and others surrendered to the national forces, the ministry said. It said the government is ready to receive militants who are willing to surrender and denounce violence.

“It is only in doing so that they shall escape the wrath of the SNA and local forces,” the ministry said, vowing to intensify military operations in strict compliance with its obligations under international humanitarian law, human rights law, Islamic law, and Somali customary rules of warfare.

The extremist group was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 but it is still capable of conducting attacks, targeting government installations, hotels, restaurants, and public places.

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