The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), assisted by the Somali National Army (SNA), has recovered an assortment of drugs and discovered a women prison in the former al-Shabaab stronghold of Buula Burde in Somalia’s Hiran region after liberating the town.
On their sixth straight victory since launching an offensive against the insurgent group, the AMISOM troops came across hard drugs and alcohol, which they said was proof the Islamists made everyone they fought to restore strict sharia law while breaking the same.
“The ongoing offensive by the AMISOM together with the Somali National Army against the al Shabaab has exposed the insurgents as engaging in practices contrary to Islam, the religion which they claim to fight for,” an AMISOM spokesperson said on Monday.
The al-Shabaab fighters avoided a confrontation with the AMISOM and SNA troops in Buula Burde, 125 km outside the regional capital, Balet Weyne, in South Central Somalia.
Troops touring Buula Burde after its liberation last week discovered hideouts where alcohol and drugs were being used by the terror elements before they fled.
AMISOM Force Commander Lt.-Gen. Silas Ntingurirwa is leading the renewed offensive.
Also discovered during the operations are unkempt houses littered with clothes belonging to women, which are suspected to have been detention cells for women.
Town residents said it was ironic that the insurgents who purported to fight for religion would be the same onbacting contrary to its commands.
Abdi Asiis Durow, the former Commissioner for Bula Burde town, said the discoveries were disheartening.
“What they do and everything they say including telling lies is contrary to religion. They drink wine, smoke drugs in the worst way a human being can do,” Durow said.
“We have seen the places where they raped girls and how they devastated the nation’s belongings. They (al-Shabaab) turned everything upside down. What people told us about them was very bad and it is even worse that we have seen for ourselves,” he said.
AMISOM troops also discovered a hang-tree where all who disagreed with the extremists’ demands were publicly executed.
The al-Shabaab extremists left a trail of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which were planted at the police station, on trees and along the main roads.
Many of the IEDs were safely detonated while others were disassembled, according to AMISOM.
Buula Burde town has been under al-Shabaab’s rule for seven years.
It is strategically located, connecting Central Somalia, Lower Shabelle, Bay and Bakool regions.
The Shabelle River passes through the town, ensuring uninterrupted supply of water throughout the year.