MOGADISHU, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The Somali National Army (SNA) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said Saturday they have embarked on a major road rehabilitation exercise in Middle Shabelle to ease movement of goods and services in the agriculture-rich region.
Jean Marie Vianney Nzigirabarya, operations officer of AMISOM Sector 5, said the exercise focuses on improving the condition of the 15 km road linking Jowhar town to the region's airfield.
"We came here to clear the bushes along the road so that the extremist group, al-Shabab, cannot hide behind them. They often hide behind the bushes to plant improvised explosive devices (IED) and ambush motorists," Nzigirabarya said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
He said heavy machinery will be used to clear roadside thickets, which often act as hideouts for the militants when carrying out attacks targeting AMISOM convoys, SNA troops, and civilian vehicles.
The rehabilitation exercise would help stabilize the Middle Shabelle region and ensure safety for movement of goods and services.
The rehabilitation work, spearheaded by the Burundian contingent, is part of the implementation of AMISOM's key priority programs, one of which is to secure main supply routes linking towns, cities and key population centers within AMISOM's area of responsibility.