Despite increased attacks by al-Shabab in the country, the African Union (AU) Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) vowed on Saturday to work with local security forces to achieve peace.
ATMIS also condemned the militant group’s brazen attack on a commercial convoy in the central Somali town of Hiran on Friday night, which resulted in the deaths of 20 people and the destruction of seven trucks carrying desperately needed food and water supplies.
“ATMIS expresses condolences to the families of those killed and remains committed to collaborating with Somali security forces to achieve peace and security in Somalia,” the AU mission said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.
The announcement came as Hiran regional security officials confirmed that the death toll from the terrorist attack had risen to 20, and that seven trucks transporting food supplies from Beledweyne to Mahas in HirShabelle State had been burned.
Regional security officials also stated that al-Shabab terrorists targeted two vehicles transporting rescuers with improvised explosive devices in the latest attack, which was also condemned by the Somali government.
Residents said the latest assault was a retaliatory attack by al-Shabab on a local militia known as Ma’awisley, which is supported by the Somali National Army (SNA), which has recently been fighting al-Shabab militants in an attempt to push them out of the Hiran region.
The Somali National Army (SNA), backed by the African Union Mission in Somalia, drove al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the terror group remains capable of carrying out attacks on government installations, hotels, restaurants, and public places.