AMISOM launches Operation Antelope in HirShabelle

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The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) have jointly embarked on an operation to open up key supply routes in HirShabelle region.

The two organizations intend to open the roads in the region to support the local population as well as assist the military get access to Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in the sector that is under the Burundi contingent.

Major Raymond Kemei from the Mission Enabling Unit said the rehabilitation and opening up of the roads in the operation codenamed Antelope will help the local population to move their crops from farms to the markets.

He added that the rehabilitated routes will enable the local population move freely while the security agencies will be able to respond to emergencies much faster than is the case now.

Major Kemei also noted that humanitarian agencies will also get access to populations in areas that have been cut off from the road infrastructure.

The Sector 5 Commander, Brigadier-General Venuste Nduwayo, said the operation which is already underway will see more than 150 kilometres of roads rehabilitated in the agricultural rich region of Somalia.

The commander named some of the roads which will be rehabilitated as Jowhar Airfield to Jowhar Town, Biyo-Adde to Jowhar Town, Mahadaay to Elbaraf, Biyo-Adde to Raga-elle and Raga-elle to Mogadishu among others.

The rehabilitation works began on December 1, after the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC), Francisco Madeira, visited the President of HirShabelle, Ali Abdullahi Osoble, to discuss matters of security and infrastructure.

During the visit, the SRCC promised to support efforts by the regional President to develop the state by ensuring infrastructure like roads are developed and remain passable for the population to deliver their produce from farms to the market.

The operation will see AMISOM supply personnel, UNSOS provide the necessary equipment, while United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) offer mentorship on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the operation.

The operation to rehabilitation of the roads in the newest federal state in Somalia is expected to take at least three months.

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