Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-The Federal Government of Somalia has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to a comprehensive approach in the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab.

In a press conference on Saturday, Somalia’s Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Daud Aweis highlighted the government’s achievements in the ongoing battle, focusing on eradicating the group from multiple fronts, including economic warfare, liberation of territories, and combating Al-Shabaab’s radical ideologies.

The Minister stated the federal government has swiftly devised an economic strategy to cripple Al-Shabaab’s financial backbone, cutting its financial transactions. He stated that the destroyed Al-Shabaab strongholds on the outskirts of Mogadishu, including pseudo-courts, prison cells, and extortion collection points.

He said that the Somali Intelligence Agencies have disrupted Al-Shabaab networks that facilitated the financial activities, which severely Al-Shabaab’s financial resources and military power.

“The government has successfully blocked $150 million in transactions belonging to Al-Shabaab through the seizure of 368 bank accounts and 405 phones,” said Daud Aweis, federal Minister of Information.

The federal government has captured Al-Shabaab’s attempts to smuggle illicit goods via the Port of Mogadishu, which were also thwarted.

The Minister emphasized the government’s intensified efforts against Al-Shabaab, stating that over 120 areas have been liberated from the Al-Shabaab militants and are now under government control.

“Over the past year, the government’s intensified against Al-Shabaab resulted in the liberation of over 120 areas across all the regions,” Minister Awes said.

These liberated areas include villages and towns across different regions of the country: 25 in Hiran region, 21 Central Shabelle, 20 in Galgaduud, 25 in Mudug, 10 n Lower Shabelle, and 20 in Jubaland.

The Minister further added that the Somali National Army and local community forces ‘Macawisley’, with the support of international partners, have eliminated over 3,795 Al-Shabaab militants in the offensive operations. The government also destroyed 73 Al-Shabaab bases and other 68 networks supporting Al-Shabaab terrorists organisation.

Minister Aweis stated that the government has extended its fight to the media, including social media channels, in combating the spread of Al-Shabaab ideologies.

He added that the government has blocked access to several Facebook pages, Telegram channels, YouTube, Tiktok, and websites affiliated to Al-Shabaab terrorists organisation.

“The government has taken down 8,029 Facebook pages and profiles and 3,517 Telegram channels, 221 TikTok accounts, and 21 YouTube channels used by Al-Shabaab to disseminate their propaganda. Al-Shabaab’s access to 12 websites to spread their fake news and 4 radio channels affiliated with their radical ideologies have been blocked,” he added.

He emphasized the vital role played by the scholars, religious teachers, and community elders in the fight against Al-Shabaab ideologies, stating that they made a declaration that hugely shifted the public’s perception to the group

The Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to the amnesty opportunity, emphasizing that the government would guide all Al-Shabaab fighters willing to disassociate from the militant group and provide opportunities for them to reintegrate into regular life.

He further urged parents to share information about their children who want to surrender to the government.

In July, the federal government established a National Centre for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (Tubsan) to prevent radicalization, counter extremist ideologies, and provide counter-narratives against the beliefs of the Al-Shabaab militant group.

The Federal Government of Somalia has then offered an Amnesty opportunity and a call for Al-Shabaab fighters who are willing to defect from the extremist group and surrender themselves to the Somali government.

In the months of July and August, 107 fighters have defected from the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, and registered themselves at the National Center for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (Tubsan).

The war between the Somali government and the Al-Shabaab group has intensified since the re-election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in May 2022.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a “total war” against Al-Shabaab last year. Since then, government forces, together with the local community and international partners, have liberated more than 80 locations from the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

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