Just before the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is up for review, the Somali government arrested 790 suspects in a coordinated operation on Thursday as part of an extensive and ongoing crackdown.
The crackdown aims to fulfill Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon’s promise to cleanse the city of terrorists, made earlier this week when he issued his administration’s 55-day status report.
“Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabab have been defeated both in this city and in the regions. We shall cleanse this city of terror and the remnants of al-Shabab. In today’s crackdown we have arrested 790 suspects,” said Mogadishu Intelligence Chief Khalif Ahmed Ereg.
The operation follows Sunday’s landmine attack that targeted a member of Somalia’s federal parliament.
Just recently the Somali government reopened the national intelligence and security agency and increased night patrols alongside AMISOM police within the capital.
Security officials said the crackdown will continue in the coming days and serves to preempt possible guerrilla attacks within the city.
“What’s important is that we save our people from terrorists. And as long as we suspect terrorists are within this city, we shall continue with these operations,” said Ahmed Hassan Malin, head of Banadir Reginal Police.
Al-Shabab announced Wednesday it has sentenced a French intelligence agent who was seized in 2009 to death. They are holding him hostage in a small southern town. The extremist fighters said France signed the death warrant of Denis Alex when it launched a rescue operation on Saturday. Al-Shabab have recently been losing ground against AMISOM allied forces and the Somali army. It has been reported that they have been fleeing from their strongholds.