Four people were on Thursday killed and others injured in Geriley army base in Gedo region as Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack and recaptured the area from the Somali National Army and Juballand State forces. The victims included three soldiers and one civilian.

Ibrahim Guled, the Governor of Elwak under which Geriley falls, confirmed the incident and stated that the Juballand State forces had withdrawn from the town following defeats in battle.

“There was a heavy battle between Al-Shabaab militants and Juballand State forces. Al-Shabaab launched the attack first while the efforts of the security forces present were inadequate. They managed to enter the base with great pressure and dominance. As a result, four people died, including two Juballand State force officers and a soldiers, and a civilian. We have not yet received information about the number of injuries,” said Guled, the Governor of Elwak.

“Gerily is now under the control of Al-Shabaab. The forces have withdrawn from the town after facing defeats, though their exact location is currently unknown,” he added.

Al-Shabaab also claimed to have launched the attack and successfully recaptured the town and the forward operation base handed over to the Somali Security Forces by the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF).

Geriley, located 12 kilometers from the Kenyan border, was previously under the control of the Kenya Defense Forces as part of the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The KDF withdrew from the town during the initial phase of ATMIS’ drawdown and handed over its forward military base to the Somali National Army two weeks ago.

This development comes just a week after Jubaland State Vice President Mohamed Sayid Adan expressed grave concerns about the hasty and unplanned withdrawal of ATMIS forces in Somalia, citing potential risks to regional security.

Speaking in a recent statement, the Vice President stated, “The withdrawal of ATMIS forces was premature and an ill-advised decision. We repeatedly voiced our concerns during discussions, urging the withdrawal to be halted. However, the ATMIS forces were determined to leave the country as planned, and the previous government played a role in this decision.”

He further disclosed that neither the forces of Jubaland nor those of the federal government were adequately prepared to assume control over the vacated ATMIS bases. Despite the challenges ahead, he emphasized the urgent need for concerted efforts to effectively manage the security situation in Jubaland.

Jubaland has long relied on the presence of ATMIS forces to combat Al-Shabaab, and the withdrawal of these forces from Geriley has made it easier for Al-Shabaab to capture the town.

This comes in less two weeks after Kenyan Defense Forces under the African Transition Mission in Somalia handed over this base into Somali army, this was among 7 bases transferred to Somalia as part of drawdown in late June, 2023

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