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June 28, 2015

Ugandan forces overrun Al-shabaab camp in Somalia

UPDF overruns Al-shabaab camp - Vision 

By Vision Reporter 
UPDF soldiers under the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have liberated Tortorow, a town in the lower Shabelle region of Somalia, overrunning an Al-shabaab camp in the process.

In the Al-shabaab camp, the UPDF soldiers under Battle Group Fifteen stumbled upon an assortment of material.

According to battalion commander, Col. Silvio Aguma, the Al-shabaab Al-shabaab camp was stocked with a range of assorted items like sugar (750kgs), salt (150kgs) wheat flour (600kgs), rice (900kgs), cooking palm oil (550 liters) and 01 AK47 Riffle with 41 rounds.

Tortorow, with a population of about 5,000 residents had been used as a base for militants from where they trained fighters and imposed taxes on the local farmers' livestock and crop.

Al-shabaab has also been using the area to launch attacks especially along the Mogadishu-Barawe route.

Governor of Lower Shabelle region, Abdulkadir Mohamed coordinated the exercise in cooperation with a team of opinion leaders of Tortorow town.

"After liberation, the situation is better. The people are (moving) freely. They are making business and visiting each other freely," said Abdulkadir.

The intervention by AMISOM troops has ushered in newly found freedom for people to socialize. This week, Brigadier Sam Kavuma, the commander of the Ugandan AMISOM contingent visited Tortorow and addressed a gathering at the market square, followed by dancing and jubilation.

"This has been a hub of Al-shabaab since they were chased from Mogadishu and other areas of Afgoye. So they came and settled here and made this area to be their hub, their safe haven where they could base to launch some attacks mainly on soft targets. And when I decided to come and liberate it, there was no resistance. This shows how weak these guys are," Brigadier Kavuma said.

However, Col. Aguma says AMISOM still has work to do in order to reclaim more territory from Al-shaabab since the terror group is still a bane to the lives of Somalis outside Tortorow.

To counter Al-Shabaab, AMISOM has intensified patrols along the main supply routes, as well as carrying of Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) which include offering health care services to the community. AMISOM has also recovered weapons and equipment used in setting up IEDs.

While residents of Tortorow hope for peace with AMISOM's presence, Omar Osman, a town resident says there is need for social services in the area and requested the international agencies to come to aid the community.

"We don't have hospitals. We don't have education. We don't have mosques. Al-Shabaab has destroyed all. They have chased all the clerics and have come up with new and young people. They came with new people who we don't know. Even we don't know their voices. They even destroyed the Madrasa," Ugaas said.