Somali president met with the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin on Thursday, the meeting was focused on strengthening the capacity of Somalia's military to battle Al Shabaab, which US generals have described as Al Qaeda's most lethal outfit.
"Since June 2022, SNA has let, Somali National Army, has been able to partner with the local forces in the removal of Al-Shabaab from 20% of the area they controlled before.
We recognize that defeating Al-Shabaab requires a multi-faceted approach that includes effective and accountable security forces and inclusive state-building process, the ability of the state to provide rule of law and critical services to the public" said Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Somali President.
The group has been waging a deadly insurgency against Somalia's internationally-backed government.
According to Lloyd Austin, US Defense Secretary, "Somalia and the Horn of Africa have entered a crucial period of transition. This period will be especially important given the ongoing hostilities in Ethiopia, and the persistent threat of Al-Shabab, which continues to launch high-profile, cruel and brazen attacks on civilians. Our cooperation here is crucial, Mr. President, and we stand ready, as your partners."
A report from the Pentagon's Africa Center for Strategic Studies, revealed Al Shabaab has been one of the deadliest and most effective terror groups on the continent this year, accounting for an estimated 36% of all militant Islamist group violence.
The group has also been dubbed Africa's wealthiest terror organization, collecting an estimated $120 million in extortion and other rackets in 2020.