Somalia: Calm returns to Afgoye after Al-Shabab raid
Col. Ronald Bigirwa, the African Union Commander of Uganda’s battle group 18, headquartered in Arbiska, three kilometers from the southwestern town said the situation was stable and peaceful.
He dismissed media reports that Al-Shabaab militants had overrun the town, after detonating a vehicle loaded with explosives at the police station.
Addressing local media, Col. Bigirwa said reports that the militants had overrun the town was a distortion and exaggeration of the situation on the ground, adding that in the incident, soldiers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) never used their weapons because there was no need to do so.
“It (Afgooye) was not overrun. They (Al-Shabaab) never controlled any position apart from the explosion which killed people. It was very unfortunate,” Col. Bigirwa explained adding that his area of responsibility is calm.
“The security situation is generally calm with isolated incidents of insecurity. Al-Shabaab is not controlling any area under the responsibility of my battle group. We have tried to secure the place against attacks,” Col. Bigirwa stated. He however, noted that in last week’s incident in which the police station was destroyed, six police officers, a boy and two civilian women were killed.
Both the local police and residents expressed the same views, dismissing reports that the town had been overrun. Col. Noor Hayir Ali, the Head of Operations of the Somali Police Force (SPF) in Lower Shabelle, also refuted claims by the militants that they had taken over the town.
“There was an explosion but this can happen anywhere in the world. Both civilians and police officers died in the explosion. There was an attack but they (Al-Shabaab) did not overrun the town of Afgooye as claimed by the militia. After the attack there was an exchange of gunfire but the situation is now calm and under the control of the Somali forces,” Col. Ali said.
Adan Sharif, a resident said, “There was nothing much apart from an attack in which a vehicle loaded with explosives was used but it (the attack) ended quickly. The situation is normal and people are going about their activities normally.”