Southwest leader visits besieged city on Somalia front lines

The city has been under Al-Shabaab blockade since 2010 which led to inflation and food insecurity. 

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Southwest leader visits besieged city on Somalia front lines

WAJID, Somalia -  Southwest state leader Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen has made a rare visit to the front lines in Somalia, taking a plane to reach the besieged western city of Wajid that was devastated by more than 10 years of Al-Shabaab blockade.

The visit by the Somali regional leader is meant to assess firsthand the town's raging humanitarian disaster amid calls to reopen the roads linking the cities in the Bakol region which were barricaded by Al-Shabaab.

Speaking to the reporters following his arrival under tight security, Lafta-Gareen said his administration is working on military plans in collaboration with the Somali government that is aimed at flushing out Al-Shabaab from the supply routes.

He said his trip which was the second since his election in late 2018 was part of the attendance of the inauguration of the newly elected city council, promising his 3rd visit will happen as all roads are re-opened.

The town is encircled and main roads are cut off which makes business more difficult to go through Al-Shabaab-controlled small villages and this has caused high inflation and food shortages.

Thousands of thousands of residents have been caught in the crisis and local traders use donkeys to smuggle goods and basic necessities on unpaved roads in and out of the city.


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