Jowhar– Senior military and police officers of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) met with the Hirshabelle State police officers to discuss ways of boosting cooperation to secure the Jowhar region against Al-Shabaab.
“We had good exchanges, good discussions on how we can work together, plan operations to fight Al-Shabaab terrorists effectively. We agreed that we will continue with such meetings to exchange information and plan operations,” said ATMIS Burundi Contingent Commander, Brig. Gen. Jean Claude Niyiburana, who chaired the meeting on Saturday.
The fight against the militant group has become top priority for both ATMIS and the Federal Government of Somalia as the drawdown of troops enters are critical phase.
The meeting was attended by Hirshabelle State Police Commissioner Col. Hassan Di’isow Hassan, the UN Regional Administration Officer in Jowhar, Gagan Banjara, and ATMIS Police Coordinating Officer for Hirshabelle Marafa Manu.
Brig. Gen. Niyiburana said the engagement between ATMIS and Somali Police in Hirshabelle State, would pave the way for a speedy and successful operation against Al-Shabaab terrorists.
Col. Hassan described the meeting as a positive step towards strengthening joint efforts to degrade Al-Shabaab and other armed groups.
“We discussed ways of fighting Al-Shabaab and liberating areas under their control. As you know there are ongoing operations against the
militants in Hirshabelle. The areas east of River Shabelle were stabilised and liberated and the aim was to plan on how to liberate the remaining areas west of River Shabelle,” he added.
Col. Di’isow Hassan and his team also inspected the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) in Jowhar. The JOC supports the coordination and planning of operations between ATMIS and Somali Security Forces.
The ATMIS Police Reforms Advisor in Jowhar, SP Rogers Chebene, said ATMIS and Somali Police had resolved to work closely in countering the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) commonly used by Al-Shabaab to target civilians and security officers.
“The focus is to organize refresher training for local officers who had earlier completed EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) training. They need to be trained on how to use equipment recently donated by UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service) to neutralize IEDs planted on roadsides,” said SP Chebene.
Other key issues discussed and agreed during the meeting included inclusion of Hirshabelle State police officers in the Joint Operations Centre and engaging Somali Police officers on different policing aspects.