Somalia urges immediate aid to liberated areas
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has called for immediate humanitarian assistance for thousands of people in southern areas of the country recently liberated from Al-Shabaab militants.
"We are driving the enemies of peace out of their strongholds, which is wonderful news for embattled communities across Somalia," the president said in a press release mailed to Anadolu Agency.
The ongoing military offensive, which started in March, has so far seen six towns previously held by Al-Shabaab recaptured by government and African Union forces.
"It is now imperative that these innocent men, women and children who have suffered so much see immediate peace dividend in the form of food and humanitarian assistance," said President Mohamud.
The United Nations Office for Coordination Assistance (OCHA) has expressed concern over access to humanitarian supplies amid the ongoing military offensive.
According to OCHA, thousands of people in Bay and Bakool region, where the fighting rages on, are in dire need of food and shelter.
But many aid agencies eager to move into the newly-liberated regions are concerned about their safety.
"We will do everything possible to facilitate safe and secure access for agencies to reach these communities," President Mohamud said.
But he underlined the need to act quickly to address the humanitarian crisis.
"We have worked with our friends for a longtime on stabilization planning. This is now the time to put these plans into action," asserted the Somali president.
"Somalis deserve nothing less."