MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s army chief General Odowa Yusuf Rage has been trapped in a besieged rural area in the Middle Shabelle region over the past days after leading a military offensive against militants, Caasimada Online website has reported on Sunday.
Somali army chief has been in rural areas in the Middle Shabelle region over the past 10 days and has been coordinating military maneuvers aimed to retake vast swathes of territory still under the control of the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab.
Since then militants have been planning attacks against Odowa Yusuf Rage and troops accompanying him. Caasimada Online quoted military officials as saying there were a number of attempts on the army chief’s life last week.
Last week, militants attacked a gathering of military top brass in the town of War-eise in the Middle Shabelle region. The army chief survived the assault, though other military officials, including the commander of the 6th brigade of Turkish-trained Gorgor special forces were killed.
Odowa Yusuf Rage was planning to return to the capital and pulled his troops back from a number of villages in the region but intelligence reports later indicated there were imminent militant attacks.
Al-Shabaab mined safe roads he would withdraw, prepared fighters and booby-trap vehicles that has forced Mr Rageh to remain in the countryside for so long after his operation proved counter-productive, according to Caasimada Online.
It comes after troops began a military operation against militants to beef up security in the region ahead of elections scheduled to take place within two months.
Islamist militants took over a number of towns in the Middle Shabelle region on Saturday and raised their flags over key areas earlier captured by the army.
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