The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army have launched a major road rehabilitation exercise in Middle Shabelle to ease movement of goods and services in the agriculture-rich region.
The exercise focuses on improving the condition of the 15-kilometre road linking Jowhar town to the region’s airfield. Heavy machinery will be used to clear roadside thickets, which often act as hideouts for Al-Shabaab militants when carrying out attacks targeting AMISOM convoys, SNA troops, and civilian vehicles.
“We came here to clear the bushes along the road so that the extremist group, Al-Shabaab cannot hide behind them. They often hide behind the bushes to plant IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and ambush motorists,” said Col. Jean Marie Vianney Nzigirabarya, the Operations Officer of AMISOM Sector 5.
Col Nzigirabarya added that the rehabilitation exercise would contribute towards stability in Middle Shabelle region and ensure safety for movement of goods and services.
The rehabilitation work, being spearheaded by the Burundian contingent is part of the implementation of AMISOM’s key priority programmes, one of which is to secure main supply routes linking towns, cities and key population centres within AMISOM’s area of responsibility.
The HirShabelle State Minister of Public Works, Yasin Ahmed Mohamud, who launched the exercise, said his administration would support AMISOM in rehabilitating the region’s road infrastructure to help improve security, commerce, and trade.
“I would like to thank AMISOM for supporting us on this. We will work with them to execute the task successfully,” said Mr. Mohamud.
He also thanked the Governor of Middle Shabelle region and other local administration officials for supporting the project, adding that it would help improve service delivery.
Ahmed Meyre Makaran, the Governor of Middle Shabelle region, emphasized that the rehabilitation would improve the state of the road and ease movement for people, goods and services.
“The road became narrow due to overgrown bushes and became a security threat because terrorists hide in them. This project will widen the road to facilitate easy movement for travelers, livestock and vehicles,” said Mr. Makaran.