- Published on Thursday, 28 June 2012 09:54
- Written by Nkwasibwe Geofrey
- Category: news
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The capture of Balaad by AMISOM peacekeepers on Tuesday is not only a loss of territory, but a big blow to the Al-Shabaab who also lost lots of weapons.
“After a peaceful entry on Tuesday, as the insurgents fled the town, some wanted to create insecurity on Balaad-Mogadishu road and we beat them up. We captured one alive and took from them eight submachine guns, one PK machine gun and one rocket propelled grenade. Of course some of them died,” said Brig Paul Lokech, the commander of the Ugandan contingent in Somalia on Wednesday.
Balaad is a key strategic town, being the gateway connecting Mogadishu to central Somalia as well as the Puntland region.
Situated 30km north of Mogadishu, Balaad is rich in farmland and is the bread-basket for most of Somalia.
Securing Balaad allows the local population to build their livelihoods free from extortion of money, which al-Shabaab uses to fund their daily terror activities.
Apart from Balaad, Lokech in a release from the Ugandan contingent, said the UPDF has in the last month conducted successful operations in Somalia, including the capture and mop-up of Afgoye town, 30km northwest of Mogadishu. They also captured El Fitri, Garasbinto as well as conducting the raid on Elma’an port and Esaley airstrip, 40km northeast of Mogadishu.
Capt. Obbo, the information officer for the Uganda Battle Group IX, released the statement.
According to the release, the UPDF also recovered 32 VHF radios, nine Motorola walkie-talkie radios with 36 batteries and 24 charging systems, 22 sub-machine guns plus their magazines and 2,800 bullets.
Others were a Mark 4 gun, one Uzi gun, one 82mm recoilless gun, six RPG shells and five fuses, one 35mm automatic grenade launcher gun, a 12mm gun and 16 improvised explosive devices.
In the raid on Elma’an port and Esaley airstrip, the UPDF recovered nine SMGs with 30 full magazines, two RPGs, one G3 gun, one PK machine gun and three terrorists were captured.
Esaley airstrip and Elma’an port, both abou 37km northeast of Mogadishu, were used by al-Shabaab to import illegal arms and ferry foreign fighters from the Gulf of Aden into Somalia.
In 2006, al-Shabaab banned humanitarian groups from using Esaley airstrip, thereby restricting humanitarian access to populations in middle Shabelle and south Somalia.
Source: New Vision