SOMALIA, Buur-Hakba: In a photograph taken and released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support team 28 February 2012, Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) play football with young Somali boys in the central Somali town of Buur-Hakba following it's capture the day before from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group Al Shabaab by the Somali National Army (SNA), supported by AMISOM forces. The strategically important town linking the capital Mogadishu and the hinterlands of central Somalia was liberated without a shot being fired, marking a significant loss for the group. Under the Shabaab's repressive and violent rule, social and leisure past-times such as football were banned in every form including watching and playing. The town, located 64kms east of Baidoa, Somalia's second city, was a stronghold of the Shabaab where they extorted high levies of illegal taxation on the local civilian populations and used it as a base from where they planned and launched attacks against government forces and installations, AMISOM and the Somali population. Buur-Hakba is the latest in a string of notable territorial losses for the extremist group to SNA and AMISOM forces over the last 18 months, which has seen their area of influence and control over towns and areas across Somalia steadily and rapidly decrease. AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE.
- Credits AU-UN IST/Stuart Price
- Themes Conflict
- Regions Africa Somalia