Mogadishu, Somalia – Somali President Mohamed Adbullahi Farmaajo dressed in combat fatigues, approached a podium for a press conference at the Somali Presidential Villa and while flanked by his presidential guards declared the East African country a ‘war zone’ and instructed the Somali Army to prepare for an all out offensive on the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, or simply, al-Shabaab. President Farmaajo also gave fighters of al-Shabaab a way out of the impending bloody battles with a 60-day amnesty period in which they can use to cease their insurgency against Somalia stating: “We tell the young, brainwashed al-Shabab fighters that they have a 60-days deadline to lay down the arms with which they use to kill their [Somali] people and come to us,” and went on to say that; “We [The Somali government] shall welcome them with open arms.”
This declaration of war falls on the heels of an announcement made earlier this week that the Trump administration signed off on a proposal allowing U.S. Africa Command approving authority to “launch an offensive campaign against the al-Shabab militant group in Somalia, clearing the way for more airstrikes and a more active presence of U.S. Special Operations Forces on the ground.” Thus in turn authorizing U.S. Special Forces teams operating as advisors within Somalia command authority to conduct offensive airstrikes, which usually these Special Forces ‘advisors’ had to do themselves, or their Somali counterparts be in imminent danger or threat of death while waiting to gain strike authority from higher command channels.
Also apart of both the U.S. and Somalia’s signed agreement, southern Somalia, where large parcels of land are in control of al-Shabaab, is to now designated an “active area of hostilities,” bringing it on par with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and certain areas of Libya and Yemen. Airstrikes can also now be approved with “a reasonable certainty” of no civilian casualties on the target, rather than the previous “near certainty” precedent during the Obama administration. These strikes however will still need planning and approval in a joint manner with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces.
— Villa Somalia (@TheVillaSomalia) April 6, 2017
Feature Image courtesy of: The Villa Somalia