MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- 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 Saturday 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
"We agreed that we will continue with such
meetings to exchange information and plan operations," Niyiburana said
in a statement issued Sunday in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The fight against al-Shabab extremists has become the top priority
for both ATMIS and Somali government as the drawdown of troops enters a
The AU mission said it has stepped up preparations for the withdrawal of 2,000 soldiers by June 30 from Somalia.
Niyiburana said the engagement between ATMIS and Somali Police in
Hirshabelle State would pave the way for a speedy and successful
operation against al-Shabab terrorists.
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
Hassan and 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 UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action
Service) 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. ■