Its at times like these the Transitional Federal Government and the AMISOM want to be seen making huge progress in thier against Al-shabaab, whilst in reality the progress has been modest or in many cases none at all. Facts on the ground become blurred as the TFG and AMISOM press offices/spokesmen spring into action releasing statement one after the other, promising to get rid of al-shabaab very soon and that the group is verging on collapse, all in the hope to keep the “international community” interested in this “war on terror”. I strongly believe this push on the Bakara market is nothing more than president shareef shaikh ahmed aiming for a political boost since we are coming to the end of his tenure, this is clear as prime minister farmajo on his visit to the states kept reiterating that the TFG is the worlds first line of defence against the “plague of terrorism”.
Operation publicity stunt?
The Transitional federal government of somalia’s forces backed by the AMISOM have been for months trying to push into Al-shabaab strongholds not only in the capital but also in southern provinces such as lower jubba and Gedo. it’s fair to say the the military campaign in the southern provinces have yielded minimal results,amid deep divisions within “Ahlusunah” sufi group along tribal lines mirroring that of the current government serving to weaken “ASWJ” and ex-ras kamboni grip on parts gedo and border towns in lower jubba provinces respectively.
In Mogadishu where streets let alone neighbourhoods are fiercely contested, propaganda and counter propaganda is the name of the game, something the TFG and AMISOM haven’t been very successful since the start of current hostilities.
2 days ago after heavy battles raged close to the “wadnaha” (heart) road (so called due to the fact it runs through the heart of the city), TFG allied forces were very keen to take journalists to show a “proof” of their gains on the battle field. “waddada Wadnaha” is the road that runs horizontally 2 or 3 blocks south of the market meeting with the road that runs vertically in front of the market, where those 2 roads meet its called “isgoyska bakaaraha” or the bakaara junction. The market is situated in the howlwadag district under shabaab control.
According to the AMISOM press release “The Southern and Western edges of Mogadishu’s famous Bakara Market are now under control of government troops…”, but a senior Al-shabaab leader Shaykh hassan dahir aways, begs to differ, in fact he held a press conference on “wadnaha” road on same day.
Also in the last 7 days the AMISOM force commander,Major General Nathan Mugisha in his statements pleaded with the market business community to “minimise movement in and around Bakara”, in a sign the area maybe subjected to a barrage of AMISOM bombardment,like in the past only killing civilians. Only five days ago scores of civilians were killed and wounded after the market was shelled, on that occasion AMISOM were quick to distance themselves from the incident, however in their press release there are tell tale signs it wasn’t AMISOM strictly but perhaps from their allied forces the TFG, but of course the statement goes on to confusingly blame the shelling on the “extremists”,whilst at the same time admitting the the “exteremits” have according to the press release “established a stronghold in the market”.
Another reason why AMISOM wants to “reassure” the the business community, is that the traders are weary of TFG who back when Abdullahi yusuf was in charge, the TFG soldiers under the guise of getting rid of terrorist in the very same market supported by ethiopian army back, instead of securing the market they went on the rampage , braking into shops and looting as they their “security sweep”. here are some pics to remind everyone.
OPERATION DAYLIGHT STEALING (am sure they were confiscating terrorist booty)
reading different reports the map below show where fighting took place. (click to enlarge)
Upon this very road (wadnaha) not far from the bakara junction is a major sufi shrine called “biya maaloow” belonging to the “ahlu-sunnah” qadiriya sect, it fell to al-shabaab over a year ago as they headed for the presidential palace “villa Somalia” before AMISOM forces intervened to stop the group over running the palace. Al-shabaab destroyed the shrine (not the building which doubled as a mosque) according to their Salafi doctrine, this and other similar acts outraged the otherwise passive sufi sect. Although moalim Biya malow used to have shrine inside the mosque, it was also referred to as “mawlaca malacin nuur” or the mosque of moalim nur.
Pictures of Al-shabaab ordering the destruction of sufi saint mohammed biya malow shrine where his followers venerate him,dated May 2010.
Enter an important (perhaps the only one in mugadishu) “ASWJ” commander and presidential office’s minister of state Khalif Abdul-Qadir Moalim Nur! who annouced his unequivocal support for the Transitional Federal Government back in September 2010 after Al-shabaab earlier that same year destroyed the sufi revered shrine of mohammed biya malo.
Upon “ASWAJ” or shall i say AMISOM retaking the shrine, khalif abdulqadir moalim nur turned up at the location take the journalists on tour and offering a prayer inside the mosque, sharing his feelings with AMISOM commander Khalif said to him ” This mosque is where my Grandfather is buried. This is where Al Shabaab desecrated the grave of our prominent teacher, Sheik Biyamalo. This is a very important day for us and for Mogadishu.”
After more than a year the mosque recaptured, but will it brief amid deep divisions within TFG and “ASWJ”.
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