QALIMOW, HIRSHABELLE – In a significant blow to the Somali National Army (SNA) and their Macawisley allies, Al-Shabaab militants successfully captured Qalimow, a strategic city nestled between Jowhar and Bal’ad in the Middle Shabelle region.
This recent offensive by the extremist group undercuts the progress made by the SNA and Macawisley forces over the past several months. Qalimow’s proximity to Mogadishu makes this a concerning development.
Al-Shabaab-affiliated websites reported the insurgents launching a large-scale battle against SNA forces, allegedly resulting in a hasty retreat of the latter. However, this narrative conflicts with that of an SNA officer stationed at Qalimow, who asserted that the city remained under government control despite the loss of one soldier in the attack.
Reports from local sources present a chilling picture, recounting a sudden assault on the city at approximately 5:00 PM, resulting in Al-Shabaab’s temporary occupation. Locals further narrated the grim fate of a captured soldier who was reportedly beheaded by the militant group. At the time of the reports, around 7 PM, Al-Shabaab forces had supposedly vacated Qalimow, while government troops had yet to reestablish their presence.
This disturbing incident underscores the persistent volatility in the region, raising serious questions about the effectiveness of recent governmental operations against Al-Shabaab. The strategic implications of this event for the region, and potential countermeasures by the SNA and Macawisley forces, will undoubtedly draw keen attention in the days to come