Beera Yabal and Beledweyne, Hiran, Somalia –
On the outskirts of Beledweyne, the capital of the Hiran region, a fierce confrontation unfolded today morning between the Hiran’s Darwish forces, backed by government forces, and the extremist group al-Shabaab.
The clashes started yesterday when the local liberation forces, commonly called the Ma’awisley militia, launched an assault on a location near Beera Yabal, where members of al-Shabaab had gathered. Beera Yabal is a village under the Buloburde district in the Hiran region.
Witnesses residing in the vicinity reported that the conflict was highly intense, lasting for several hours and involving the use of various weapons.
The Ma’awisley fighters claim to have inflicted casualties on al-Shabaab, asserting that they killed or injured at least seven of their fighters.
Today morning, a renewed operation against al-Shabaab was led by self-proclaimed Hiran State President Ali Jeyte Osman, a formally dismissed governor of the Hiran region. He was accompanied by members of the People’s Assembly, Mohamed Abduqadir Mohamed and Mohamed Abdullahi Buralle, and the commander of the 5th battalion of the 27th division of the Somali National Army (SNA) Mohamud Hassan Ibrahim Baakay.
Today’s clashes occurred in the Bardhere area, about 22 km south of Beledweyne. Due to its proximity to the regional capital, the gunfire could be heard through the streets of Beledweyne as the battle intensified.
The second phase of operations
This development follows the successful liberation of the eastern part of Hiran from al-Shabaab several months ago. The extremist group appears to have begun to reemerge in the region, necessitating a proactive response from the local forces.
Mr Jeyte has officially initiated the second phase of an operation aimed at removing al-Shabaab militants from various regions within the Hiran State. According to him, the comprehensive endeavour is supposed to encompass both the (newly declared) Hiran and Upper Shabelle regions.
Ali Jeyte bragged about leading this second phase of operations against al-Shabaab as a “President,” while, in the first phase, he commanded “just” as a regional governor.
The situation remains fluid, and residents in the affected areas are advised to stay vigilant as security forces diligently address the renewed threat posed by al-Shabaab in the region.