The objective is to open the roads to facilitate humanitarian access.’
The African Union Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM) Burundi contingent has embarked on an operation code named “antelope” to open up key supply routes in HirShabelle state in troubled Somalia.
“The objective of the operation is to open the roads to facilitate humanitarian access, support the local population to move their crops from farms to markets, and assist the military to get access to forward operating bases (FOB) in the sector,” the African Union (AU) said in a statement on Saturday.
Sector Five commander Brig-Gen Venuste Nduwayo said the operation which was already underway would see more than 150km of roads rehabilitated in the agriculturally rich HirShabelle region. These roads included the Jowhar Airfield to Jowhar Town, Biyo-Adde to Jowhar Town, Mahadaay to Elbaraf, Biyo-Adde to Raga-elle, and Raga-elle to Mogadishu, among others.
The rehabilitation works began on December 1 after the special representative of the chairwoman of the African Union Commission Francisco Madeira visited the regional president of HirShabelle Ali Abdullahi Osoble to discuss matters of security and infrastructure. During the visit, Madeira promised to support efforts by the regional president to develop local infrastructure.
The operation to rehabilitate the roads in the newest federal state in Somalia was expected to take at least three months with the support of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the statement said.