Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said the government will soon launch the second phase of an offensive against al-Qaeda-allied al-Shabab militants in the south-west, where the group controls several towns and villages.
Speaking at a reconciliation conference in Baidoa on Tuesday, the president said al-Shabab had blockaded some towns in Bay and Bakool regions.
He added that after recent military successes in the central regions of Somalia, the planned offensive would take a shorter time “because al-Shabab is weakened”.
Mr Mohamud’s remarks came after the Somali National Army, with the help of pro-government clan militias, recaptured three strategic towns from al-Shabab.
The president added that his government had prepared a military strategy to eliminate al-Shabab in Somalia.