Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-In an audio interview with the group’s radio station Al Andalus, Sheikh Yusuf Isse Kaba-kutukade, Al-Shabaab’s Shadow Governor for the Middle Shabelle region and a key leader, discussed the impact of the Somali Government’s two-year offensive war on the militant group. The offensive, supported by international partners including the U.S. and Turkey, was aimed at eradicating Al-Shabaab and its rule.

Kaba-kutukade described the war as a significant opportunity for Al-Shabaab, contrary to the Somali Government’s objectives. He claimed that the government forces, despite their organization and support, were heavily defeated in battle.

“Their intention was to destroy and eradicate Al-Shabaab, and its Sharia rule. They organized the war, but it did not become as they planned. They were defeated and heavily destroyed on the battlefield with casualties materially and loss of human lives,” Kaba-kutukade stated.

He further asserted that the senior officers, trained by Turkey and the U.S. and assigned to eliminate Al-Shabaab, were all killed, and their weapons were seized by the group.

“They came to us while we were guerrillas and left us while we are armed like a government. That war has completely been an opportunity for Al-Shabaab,” he added.

Kaba-kutukade’s comments came as a response to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s recent appeal to international partners to intervene and facilitate negotiations with Al-Shabaab.

“Yesterday he was saying that he would bombard Al-Shabaab and finish within three months. This would be a history,” Kaba-kutukade remarked, reflecting on President Mohamud’s earlier statements.

The Al-Shabaab leader’s remarks were made during a briefing about an ambush at Gacal-ugas near Runirgood district in Middle Shabelle on Sunday, where he claimed that nine Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers were killed, and seven others were wounded. The group also reportedly recovered four AK-47 rifles, one PKM, and one G3 gun.

Kaba-kutukade’s statements follow President Mohamud’s confirmation at the Oslo Forum in Norway two weeks ago that the Somali government is considering negotiations as the ultimate solution to ending the conflict with Al-Shabaab.

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