By Joshua Kato in Mogadishu
MOGADISHU - The militant group, al-Shabaab has been defeated, Somalia president Mohamud Hassan Sheikh, has said.
“They no longer have the means to wage war. They are now centred on carrying out terrorist attacks and assassinations,” he said.
Mohamud was addressing Ugandan journalists who had paid him a visit at State House on Thursday.
Between 2007 and 2010, State House was one of the most threatened positions in Mogadishu, as the militants regularly fired at it from different directions.
Muhamud became president of Somalia in August last year through an election, replacing Sheikh Ahmed Sheriff, who had been the Transitional Federal Government president since 2006.
“They can no longer extort money from the public because all the major cities and towns, from which they used to get money, were captured,” he said.
Over the last two years, the militants have lost almost all the major towns and cities in the country. At the moment, after the capture of Buurhakhaba in central Somalia in late February, the militants remain in charge of Baraawe.
“Very soon, we shall have no al-Shabaab-controlled district,” he said.
Muhamud hailed African countries, especially Uganda, for helping Somalia regain its glory. “The most expensive gift one can give to somebody is life. That is what the Ugandans gave to Somalis,” he said.
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops in Somalia, followed by Burundi and in 2011, Kenya and Djibouti.
He appealed to donors to continue assisting the country until such a time when it can stand on its own.