Al-Shabaab Insurgency In The East And The Horn Of Africa


East/Horn of Africa

Somali jihadist group, al-Shabaab, has become synonymous with terror throughout the Horn and Eastern Africa since it splintered from its original group, the United Islamic Courts (UIC), in 2007. While part of the UIC, al-Shabaab operated as the armed wing of the group. For the intelligence community and Somalia’s neighbouring countries, al-Shabaab became an imminent threat when they successfully expelled Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), with the support of the UIC, from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia and the seat of government, in 2006. The seat of government was moved to Baidoa, while the majority of the Cabinet and Members of Parliament (MPs) moved to neighbouring Kenya or the Gulf States and Scandinavian countries. 

Though their victory in Mogadishu was short-lived, lasting only a month, due to a military invasion by Ethiopia, with the support of the United States (US) as part of the War on Terror campaign, al-Shabaab still posed a threat to Somalia and the neighbouring countries. By the time the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops were authorised by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and deployed by February 2007, the extremist group controlled large swathes of territory in the country. The extremist group, the weak government and its troops, as well as other warlords and clan militias, fought against each other for control of territory. 

The defeat under the hands of the Ethiopian military forced al- Shabaab to change its tactics. The jihadist group, which became a fully-fledged independent group in 2007, moved its operations to the port city of Kismayo, in Southern Somalia, with support of Sheikh Mukhtar Aby Zubayr, a.k.a Godane who became the leader or Emir of the group. al-Shabaab transformed themselves into a jihadist and nationalist group that seeks to create an Islamic Caliphate in all traditionally Somali land which includes Somalia, Ogaden region in Ethiopia, Northeastern Kenya and Djibouti, as well as Somaliland and Puntland regions in Somalia. The group tapped into the anti-Ethiopian sentiment that was rising as a result of the presence of Ethiopian troops following their invasion. Many Somalis see Ethiopia as a colonial power who still in control of land that was historically Somali land. The presence of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in Mogadishu from February 2007 fed into the anti-foreigner sentiments which al-Shabaab exploited to get recruits.  

Over the past thirteen years (2007 to present), al-Shabaab has grown into a fully-fledged insurgency with the ability to conduct attacks inside and outside Somalia, with thousands of innocent civilians killed. Within Somalia, the militants have sustained assaults on government forces and their allies, i.e. AMISOM, US and EU troops. They have also attacked checkpoints and restaurants frequented by civilians as a way to gain international media attention. Moreover, some of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targetting government and military posts have killed and injured innocent civilians. Though al-Shabaab has maintained its terror campaign in Somalia, the group has lost the majority of the territory that it used to control. Outside the country, Al-Shabaab has conducted attacks in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia, all Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) of AMISOM. Most of the targets have been soft targets, .i.e. restaurants, malls and schools/universities, also with the intent to capture an international audience with their acts of terror. 

The threat of al-Shabaab to Somalia was quickly anticipated by neighbouring countries and the African Union (AU). The AU mission, AMISOM, aimed to counter the threat of the extremist group while extending the territorial influence of the government. Over the past thirteen (13) years,  AMISOM and the Somali National Army (SNA), have successfully “liberated” major cities and towns from al-Shabaab including Mogadishu, Kismayo, Baraawe, Baidoa and Marka are under the control of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS). Though the government and its allied forces have done a tremendous job to capture cities and towns of economic importance to Al-Shabaab, the group has demonstrated that they are resilient. The group has sustained a terror campaign in Somalia and the neighbouring countries, but predominantly Kenya. Additionally, the group has moved from buying high-grade explosives abroad to making their homemade bombs. The resilience of the extremist group Al-Shabaab should be awake up call to the Somali government and its allied forces to change tactics to suit the changing nature of warfare in the country. 

Refer to the Islamic State in Somalia and Somali Civil War pages to get a complete picture of the Somali Civil war.

Key Facts

29,500

People killed

10,811

Attacks

4000 – 9000

Fighters

Where: Somalia, Kenya 

Active base: Southern and Central Somalia (Lower Shabelle, Jubaland and Gedo regions), Kenya (Northern Kenya – Garissa, Mandera and Lamu counties), Nairobi

Founded: 2006 officially became an independent group; 2000 formed as part of United Islamic Courts (UIC) 

Goal: Overthrow the Somali Government and install a radical Islamist government ruled under a strict interpretation of the Quran, and to create a “Greater Somalia” region which unites the Somali people divided into four countries

Target: al-Shabaab’s main target is Somali Government and military, as well as their allies, i.e. AMISOM, the US, EU and Turkey 

Finances: Over the years, al-Shabaab has had many streams of income including extortion, manning checkpoints, selling charcoal and other illicit contrabands, donations from wealthy families in the Gulf countries 

Fighters: Including 1500 foreign fighters. Due to travel restrictions to Somalia, the militant group relies on the kidnapping of children and youths for reinforcement. 

Number of attacks: 1 752 attacks specifically targeted civilians  

People killed: 3 650 deaths are civilians

The Key Actors

The Situation

Classification:  Civil war, Insurgency/Terrorism, Humanitarian

Adviser’s suggestions:

Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia and Kenya have remained steady over the past two weeks of July. In Somalia, the group’s efforts in July would be to slow down the efforts by the Somali National Army (SNA) as they conduct offensives throughout the country and disrupt the election of the members of the Upper House of Parliament scheduled for 25 July. To accomplish both goals, it is expected that Al-Shabaab would increase the number of attacks in Somalia, including in the capital, Mogadishu.

The increase in attacks in Kenya over the past month is most likely due to a tactical decision by Al-Shabaab as it tries to increase its presence in Kenya and gain more supporters and sympathizers. The Kenyan government has called on the locals to stop collaborating with the extremist group. 

 

Worsening

Current Situation: For the past two months, the Somali National Army (SNA), regional state forces, with the support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in some cases, has been conducting military operations in Lower and Middle Shabelle and Galmudug and Puntland states. The operations have led to the destruction of Al-Shabaab camps and bases, and weapons, ammunition and bomb-making material seized. SNA claims to have killed at least 250 militants, including top leaders, and hundreds more injured and captured. Unfortunately, due to the limited capability of SNA, some of the newly liberated areas are back in the hands of Al-Shabaab. It is unclear why the military has been liberating areas and withdrawing their forces from the liberated towns and villages. In retaliation for the increased pressure from SNA, Al-Shabaab has increased the number of attacks against the military and its allied forces. The group attempted to overrun a military base in Wisil, Galmudug but was eventually repulsed. In Mogadishu, the group has continued to target soft targets, especially restaurants, killing dozens of civilians in each attack. As expected, the group is conserving its resources to disrupt the electoral process, which is supposed to start on 25 July. In Kenya, Al-Shabaab has increased the number of attacks in northeastern Kenya, targeting police/military posts and civilian vehicles. The group plants improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on roads frequented by the public and military soldiers. The regional police in Kenya have urged the locals to work hand in hand with the police to combat the influence of the extremists. They added that the locals usually know when Al-Shabaab militants have crossed the border to plant IEDs on the road. Recently, intelligence from the community led to the death and capture of militants are they attempted to cross over the border with bomb-making materials and weapons. On the positive side, the regional police said that fewer youths are travelling to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab. They added that at least 300 youths who travelled to Somalia returned to Kenya and turned themselves to the police.

Timeline

Though the basis of AIAI can be traced to the 1980s, they did not become a known group in Somalia and the region until the fall of Said Barre regime in January 1991. With the freedom to operate, a luxury that was denied during General Barres’s reign, AIAI began carrying out attacks against the various warring opposition groups all trying to carve out territory to govern.  One of the group’s leaders, and one of the founding fathers of Al-Shabaab, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, formally known as Abu Mansur, created a strong presence in southern Somalia, with major influence in Mogadishu, Gedo region and Lower Jubba, which includes the port city of Kismayo. Additionally, the group had built its network by setting up governance systems – education, media, judiciary, and commerce, while deemphasising the use of violence. The growing popularity of AIAI threatened Ethiopia’s authority, according to its officials. The grenade attacks in Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa, which killed dozens in 1995 and 1966 respectively, by AIAI forced Ethiopia to act to protect its sovereignty. In 1997, Ethiopia invaded Somalia dealt significant blows to the group, causing their slow decline. Their eventual decline came when the United States (US) classified AIAI as a terrorist organisation in 2001 which limited their ability to receive funding from abroad and in turn impacted their ability to conduct their attacks. 

United Islamic Courts (UIC): Between 2000 and 2006, the UIC, with its armed group al-Shabaab, gained momentum throughout the country, with support of the business community in Mogadishu. The business community were able to overlook some of the radical ideology of the group because they were a better alternative to the warlords who were controlling the country. The warlords were selfish and only interested in money, therefore, they would extort the business community. The UIC did not operate in a similar fashion. By November 2006, the UIC took over Mogadishu, pushing the few parliamentarians working in Mogadishu to Baidoa, which became the official seat of government. At this time, due to the security threat, most of the Somali parliamentarians and cabinet members operated from Nairobi or Gulf states. The ability for UIC and al-Shabaab to successfully challenge the weak Somali transitional government spread panic in the region, causing Ethiopia to invade and remove the UIC and al-Shabaab from Mogadishu, forcing the remnants of the group to operate from Southern Somalia. Subsequently, the African Union (AU) sent peacekeeping force dubbed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to assist the transitional government, later the federal government, to secure the country and rid the country of terrorist and insurgent groups.   The leader of the UIC, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh, became the leader of the Somali transitional government once the UIC disbanded and al-Shabaab became a fully-fledged insurgent group.

The United States State Department designates groups such as al-Shabaab into its Foreign Terrorist Organisation list, as part of section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The United States was one of the first international actors who classified al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation. The predecessors of al-Shabaab, al-Ittihad al-Islamiyah and United Islamic Courts, were both designated as terrorist groups.

The twin bombings in Puntland and Somaliland used six suicide bombers who drove explosives-laden vehicles into high targets. In Somaliland, they targeted the presidential palace, the Ethiopian consulate and the UNDP offices while in Puntland they targeted the Intelligence Service building. 

 

Following the reports of Ayro’s death, many analysts began stating that the slain al-Shabaab leader Godane was the new leader. The new book, Inside al-Shabaab by Harun Maruf, claims that the CIA made a mistake thinking that Ayro was the leader of al-Shabaab. From the beginning, Godane was the Emir, or leader, of the extremist group.

Between 2007 and 2011, al-Shabaab took advantage of the weak Somali Government and its security agencies, as well as the ill-equipped AMISOM, and began the process of solidifying its insurgency in Somalia by capturing territory. Kismayo was an essential gain for al-Shabaab since they were able to fully control a key port city where they could export illicit goods such as charcoal, as well as gain income by taxing locals from using the port. The fight for Kismayo was relatively easy for al-Shabaab since they were fighting pro-government clan militias who were inexperienced. The person who led the pro-government militia, Ahmed “Madobe” is the current regional President of Jubaland.

A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the popular Medina hotel. The devastating attack killed the Somali Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden, the former Somali Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Abdikarim Farah and several Somali diplomats

The “World Cup” bombing in Kampala, Uganda was their first major attack outside Somalia which sent shock waves throughout the region. The explosion came just two days after the al-Shabaab leader, Godane, issued a fatwa, declaring jihad against all Troop Contributing Countries.  Previous to this, al-Shabaab had conducted small cross border attack to Ethiopia and Kenya. 

Note: At this point, Troop Contributing Countries were Uganda and Burundi.

The “World Cup” bombing in Kampala, Uganda is a critical turning point to the fight against al-Shabaab. The ability to conduct a devastating attack outside Somalia demonstrated the military capability of the group, which until then was underestimated. The shock of the attack led to an emergency meeting with AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries and the UN, which resulted in the change of mandate. The mandate called for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts to lessen the threat of al-Shabaab. Therefore, the AMISOM mandate became more militarily driven rather than utilising the three components of the mission, military, civilian and police. Previously, AMISOM’s mandate was limited to defensive work, i.e. the protection of Somali government officials and key installations such as ports and federal buildings. With the new mandate and the general fear of the threat of al-Shabaab, AMISOM troop increased by 12 000 forces within a couple of months.

The Battle of Mogadishu took place in two major pushes. The first started in August 2010, where AMISOM and Somali forces tried to regain control of the districts within the capital city under al-Shabaab control. The joint military operation was unable to recover any of the nine districts that the extremist group controlled. The government and pro-government militias controlled eight districts by 2010. The final battle for Mogadishu to “liberate” the city from al-Shabaab began in May 2011 following the increased troop strength of AMISOM. Though the joint AMISOM and Somali National Army did not “liberate” all the districts, a final push led to the Somali Government controlling 13 out of the 16 districts. Months later, al-Shabaab fighters retreated from the remaining three districts. 

UN reports that al-Shabaab militants have blocked relief workers form assisting millions affected by conflict, drought and famine. Al-Shabaab banned food and medicine from reaching drought-affected areas. Al-Shabaab decision to block aid worsened the drought which killed tens of thousands. In addition to blocking aid, al-Shabaab militants raided aid agencies offices in southern Somalia.

The October 2011 al-Shabaab bombing in Mogadishu is one of their most devastating attacks. The suicide bomber denoted bombs at a checkpoint leading to the Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) Ministerial complex. This was a catastrophic attack since it killed mostly students who were awaiting the news of scholarships to Sudan and Turkey form the Ministry of Higher Education.

  1. Operation Linda Inchi, which translates to Operation Lead the Country, was a predominantly Kenya Defense Force (KDF) operation in Southern Somalia. The Kenyan Government argued that the operation was necessary since al-Shabaab posed a threat to the country. The extremist groups were accused of coordinating kidnappings of mainly foreigners in Kenya and conducting cross-border attacks. Since the operation was not sanctioned, as described in the UN charter, Kenya and Somalia, two days after the military operation began, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which detailed reasons for Kenya’s involvement in Somalia. 
  2. Note: At the time of the operation, KDF was not part of the AMISOM which violated the 1992 UN arms embargo, as well as Somalia sovereignty. Also, this was not the first military operation that Kenya had conducted in Somalia, but instead, they had done small scale operations near the border with Somalia. 

In an attempt to gain global notoriety, al-Shabaab formally pledges their alliance to al-Qaida following years of cooperation between the two extremist groups. Al-Qaida’s involvement in the Somali conflict began when then leader of the group, Osama bin Laden, was in exile in Sudan. It is reported that the al-Qaida leader sent his officials to Somalia to see how the organisation could partake in the conflict. It is also said that al-Qaida had to aid some Somali groups in their quest to overthrow the Government. Some of the top al-Shabaab leadership, including al-Afghani and Robow, had trained in the al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan. 

Note: Also in the same month, al-Shabaab strengthened their ties with a group in Puntland, which later broke away to become the Islamic State in Somalia, and al-Hijra or Muslim Youth Centre in Mombasa, Kenya, which has been designated by the US State Department Foreign Terrorist Organisation list.

Al-Shabaab’s loss of the fishing port of Merca (Marka) is significant as it comes when AMISOM, in coordination with Somali forces, have increased efforts to “liberate” towns and cities from the control of the extremist group. It is reported that the al-Shabaab fighters have been fleeing towards the port city of Kismayo, their strongest stronghold. 

The liberation of the port city of Kismayo from al-Shabaab by AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) was high among the list of priorities for AMISOM. The port remained critical in al-Shabaab’s operations since they used the port to export illicit goods such as charcoal and force taxes on locals who tried to use the port. Within four days of the battle for Kismayo, al-Shabaab fighters retreated from the city. AMISOM and other foreign actors believed that the liberation of Kismayo was signalling of the decline of al-Shabaab.   

The assassination of Omar Hammami, who was extremely influential in the creation of charismatic recruitment videos, by al-Shabaab sent a clear message to other leaders that those who disapprove of Emir Godane’s vision can be killed. Since Omar Hammami detailed the assassination attempts on his life on Twitter, the world was able to get a clearer view of the rising internal divisions in al-Shabaab. 

The Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi was their first large scale attack in Nairobi, Kenya. The armed attack, which lasted four days, was heavily broadcasted throughout Kenya and the world. The attack was another reminder that al-Shabaab could stage a coordinated and lethal attack on neighbouring countries, despite the tactical defeats in Somalia. Secondly, the Westgate attack illustrated the inefficiencies in the Kenyan intelligence and security services since they had known for two years that al-Shabaab was planning to attack the mail. Unfortunately, the response from the Kenyan Government was the suppression of the rights of ethnically Somalis through arbitrary arrests and detention and the closing down of shops and money-lending services in Eastleigh, a predominantly Somali neighbourhood in Nairobi. Studies have shown that the continual practice of marginalisation of the Muslim community plays into al-Shabaab’s hand since they can exploit the situation and recruit hundreds of Somalis. 

The arrest of the 69 people in Tanzania for running an al-Shabaab child indoctrination camp came at a time when the Tanzanian Government was adamant that there is no Islamist or extremist movement in the country. The Government’s denial mainly stems from the fact that there had not been a major terrorist incident since the bombing of the US embassy in 1998. Smaller attacks targeting churches had been on the rise. However, the increase of arrests of individuals linked to al-Shabaab forced the Government to put resources to combat the problem before it becomes a severe issue. Studies have shown that Tanzania has increasingly become a preferred route to those trying to join al-Shabaab.

The 20-day operation in Central Somalia resulted in the liberation of eight of the ten districts, including Xudur and Ceel Buur.

Operation Indian Ocean was a two-month operation aimed to “seise, secure and stabilise key districts along the coastlines in all sectors.” The operation was able to “liberate” Baraawe, a major al-Shabaab stronghold, and secured the Beledweyne-Bulo Butro road which al-Shabaab had closed off to aid relief trucks.

A US airstrike killed al-Shabaab’s Emir Godane in Baraawe during Operation Indian Ocean. The death of Godane ushered the reign of Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ubeyda.

Al-Shabaab militants hijack a bus in Mandera, Kenya and killed 28 non-Muslims on board. Al-Shabaab issued a statement stating that the attack was revenge for raids carried out by Kenyan security forces on mosques in the coastal city of Mombasa. The assault on the mosques in Mombasa resulted in the arrest of more than 150 people and confiscation of explosives.

Operation Ocean Build in November designed to “enhancing stabilisation by holding key population centres and protecting their inhabitants and movements along the main supply routes.” The operation resulted in the recapture of Kudhaa Island. Besides, the operation resulted in the deaths of al-Shabaab leaders such as the Intelligence Chief Tahilil Abdishakur, Chief of External Operations Tahlil Yusuf Dheeq, and Dheeq’s immediate successor and mastermind of the Westgate Mall attack, Adan Garaar. The immense pressure from the operation leads to putative Head of Military Intelligence, Zakariye Ahmed Ismail Hersi, to defect to Somali troops.

Garissa University attack, which resulted in the death of 146 university students and two security guards, is the worst attack by al-Shabaab in Kenyan soil. Gun-wielding militants stormed the university and shot indiscriminately at the university students. The trial of five individuals accused of assisting with the attack began in January 2016 with 22 witnesses testifying against them. The accused denied all 156 counts against them. It was not until January 2019 did the court issue out their verdict, which found four of them guilty, and one was cleared of all charges due to lack of evidence. 

Operation Jubba Corridor “liberated” the towns of Diinsoor, the presumed al-Shabaab headquarter following the recapture of Baraawe, Bardhere, Adan Yabal and Galcud

Al-Shabaab’s El Adde attack is one of their most devastating attacks on KDF contingent in Somalia. A suicide bomber donated his explosive-laden vehicle in front of the AMISOM garrison base gate. The powerful blast damaged the command and communication buildings, as well as an armoury and fuel depots of the base. Following the bombing, between 150 and 300 al-Shabaab militants stormed the base carrying rocket-propelled grenades and assault weapons. The relentless militants heavily pursued some of the escaping KDF soldiers, many of whom had only arrived in Somalia 2 week prior. Though the Kenyan Government did not release the casualty figures, it is estimated that 100 soldiers were killed.

al-Shabaab launched the single deadliest attack on the Somali military in Puntland, northern Somalia.  The group attacked a military camp in Galgala highlands of the Puntland region, killing at least 48 soldiers and wounding 20 others.  At the time of the attack, there were 150 soldiers at the camp.  In addition, the group destroyed 16 vehicles and took two dozen heavy machines, AK 47s and ammunition. 

Note: al-Shabaab in Puntland has between 450 and 500 fighters. 

Similar to 2011, al-Shabaab has imposed a ban on humanitarian assistance in areas they control. Al-Shabaab added that anyone who is found to have contacted the aid agencies will be considered a spy and will be punished. The extremist group usually executes those they believe are spies. This move has raised alarms throughout the humanitarian aid sector since the last time they did this, and it worsened the drought conditions which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Somalis.  

Sheikh Mukhtar Robow is one of the founding leaders of al-Shabaab. Before co-founding al-Shabaab, Robow was a high-ranking leader of al-Ittihad al-Islamiyah (AIAI), a previous moderate extremist group that was defeated by Ethiopian forces and United Islamic Courts (UIC). Robow was in constant disagreement with Emir Godane over tactics of war. Additionally, Robow disapproved of the killing of innocent Muslims in their quest to overthrow the Government. His vocal disapproval of Godane led to him being relieved from his duties. The Government welcomed Robow’s defection since his militia followed in his footsteps. 

Note: Robow was arrested and beaten by police while he was running for South West regional president in December 2018. His arrest triggered mass protests in the regional state in Somalia. His supported believed that he was arrested, so that is opponent, a supporter of the current President Farmajo, to win the election. UN envoy to Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, was kicked out of the country after he aired his dissatisfaction over the arbitrary arrest of Robow. The Somali Government accused him of interfering in internal affairs. 

Al-Shabaab continues to conduct attacks in Kenya, with relative ease. This time, five Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) were killed in an attack in Lamu. The KDF spokesperson Lt Colonel Paul Njuguna disputed the reported casualties, saying that six soldiers were injured, two critically, but none have died. 

An explosives-laden truck detonated at a busy crossroad near the Safari Hotel in Mogadishu. The presence of a fuel tanker parked near the explosion caused a massive fireball, adding to the death toll and damages. It was reported that the truck had 350-kg homemade and military-grade explosives. Five hundred eighty-seven people lost their lives, and another 300 were injured. The Safari Hotel collapsed, and the Qatari embassy was severely damaged. The investigations on the explosion showed that the good and bad sides of Somali authorities and security forces. It is was later reported that the truck was initially stopped and released after Somali authorities vouched for the driver. Shortly after, Somali security forces stopped the truck while in a traffic jam after noticing the truck was covered with tarpaulin. While the officers tried to search the car, the driver accelerated and crushed the vehicle into a barrier which caused the explosion. 

Note: a car with explosives was intercepted on the same day and was disposed of without any casualties. Police believe that the car was going to target AMISOM and UN staff.  Also, a car bomb denoted 30 minutes after the first bomb and 300 meters away, killing two people.

al-Shabaab executes at least four men who were accused of working for the American, British and Somali intelligence services. One of the young men, a 22-year-old named Abdul Aziz Abdul Salam Sheikh Hassan, allegedly admitted to working as a spy for the US and planting a tracking device on one of the members.  

Somali businesses and analysts say that IS-Somalia and Al-Shabaab are targeting companies to an unprecedented degree with demands for so-called taxes. For years, it is well known that al-Shabaab has been strong-arming business owners to finance its war against the Somali government and African Union troops. This way, they can have an additional source of revenue to support their operations. On 29 October, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the shooting of businessman Nur Kahyre Gutale in Mogadishu. It’s unclear whether his death is related to not paying taxes or his involvement in the selection of Somalia’s parliament in early 2017. According to Abdirahman Mohamed Turyare, the former director of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), “Businesses are paying three taxes today, al-Shabaab taxes, Daesh [IS] taxes and the normal government taxes,” he said. “The businessman who is paying these three taxes, who started his business with a small amount, is going to be forced to flee to neighbouring countries because the business won’t pay for itself.”   

Dusit hotel attack was a suicide bombing followed by a 19-hour armed assault which killed 11 people. Confusion about the attack occurred when the government was insistent that the siege had ended. However, people in the neighbourhood were reporting gunshots periodically in the night and early in the morning. Security forces killed the four attacks who conducted the attack all. Several possibilities have been presented for the reasoning for the attack. One reason why Dusit was attacked is possibly due to the proximity to three embassies and the presence of the international organisation in the premise of the hotel. Another reason is the attack was a three-year el-Adde attack commemoration where al-Shabaab stormed a KDF camp and killed possibly 100 soldiers. Thirdly, the attack on Dusit hotel could be interpreted as a way for al-Shabaab to communicate with the Kenyan Government that they are still capable of conducting attacks in a secure location with ease. 

Note: The Dusit hotel attack gave more insight into al-Shabaab. This was the first major attack where the public and government officials alike realised that al-Shabaab has been able to recruit non-Somalis to their ranks. Before this, in the Kenyan context, all the attackers were ethnically Somalis. This meant that al-Shabaab has successfully recruited converts into their ranks, as it has happened in Western countries. 

U.S. forces conducted an airstrike targeting militants near Jilib, Middle Juba Region, Somalia, on January 19, 2019. U.S. Africa Command conducted the airstrike in response to an attack by a large group of al-Shabaab militants against Somali National Army Forces.  We currently assess this airstrike killed fifty-two (52) militants.  At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.

U.S. forces with AFRICOM conduct multiple airstrikes killing over 150 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. These airstrikes are executed to degrade al-Shabaab capabilities, reduce the threat against Somali partners, and prevent al-Shabaab from plotting terror attacks throughout the region.

In the Amnesty International report, “The Hidden US war in Somalia,” they claim that 14 civilians were killed, and eight more injured in just five airstrikes in over the past two years. These five incidents were carried out with Reaper drones and manned aircraft in Lower Shabelle, a region largely under Al-Shabaab control outside the Somali capital Mogadishu. 

Since the election of Donald Trump, there has been an increase of airstrikes. US forces carried out 34 strikes in Somalia in the last nine months of 2017 – more than in the entire five years from 2012 to 2016. This increased again in 2018, to 47 strikes; and there have already been 24 in the first two months of 2019 alone.

Amnesty International calls on AFRICOM to investigate the allegations, saying that the attacks “appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes.” 

Following a report from Amnesty International which claimed that AFRICOM airstrikes between 2017 and 2018 have resulted in civilian casualties, AFRICOM responds. 

They said, “We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously regardless of their origin. During research for its report, Amnesty International submitted 13 allegations in October 2018 and February 2019. Our assessments found that no AFRICOM airstrike resulted in any civilian casualty or injury. Our assessments are based on post-strike analysis using intelligence methods not available to non-military organizations. Since June 2017, AFRICOM conducted 110 airstrikes in Somalia, eliminating more than 800 terrorists. AFRICOM airstrikes are primarily conducted in secluded, low-populated areas. AFRICOM complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions to minimize civilian casualties and other collateral damage. We have processes in place to ensure the safety and protection of the local population remains a top priority. These procedures, combined with precision strike capabilities, safeguard civilians and infrastructure.” 

During a commander-directed investigation of airstrikes conducted in Somalia since 2017, U.S. Africa Command learned that an airstrike on 1 April 2018  killed two civilians. On 30 March 2019, the command was notified about the results of a post-strike internal assessment conducted in April 2018 that found credible evidence of the two civilian casualties. Unfortunately, the finding was not adequately reported to U.S. Africa Command headquarters.

AFRICOM faced pressure to investigate allegations from Amnesty allegations that at least eight civilians were killed as a result of US airstrikes.

U.S. forces renew airstrikes in the vicinity of Jilib, Middle Juba Region, Somalia. At this time, it is assessed this airstrike killed militant. No civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

Al-Shabaab commander, Adan Mohamed Aka Adan Shah defected to government forces in Bay region, South West Administration, Somalia. He defected by surrendering his weapons. The commander was in charge of carrying out the major attacks in the Bay region.  Local media reports that he defected with another Al-Shabaab member, but state-owned media, SONNA, did not share their information. 

Unknown gunmen abducted two Cuban doctors heading to a government hospital. The assailants attacked the doctor’s police escort; one was shot dead while the other was just injured. The drive for the Cuban doctors was later arrested in connection with the attack.  Later the two doctors were taken to al-Shabaab militants in Somalia where they have been treating al-Shabaab militants injured in attacks. 

  • AFRICOM conducted two airstrikes against ISIS and al-Shabaab on two consecutive days. U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an ISIS-Somalia encampment in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on 9 May 2019. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike on 9 May killed four (4) terrorists.  Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an ISIS-Somalia encampment in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on 8 May 2019. At this time, it is assessed the airstrike on 8 May killed thirteen (13) terrorists. 

An al-Shabaab car bomb near a checkpoint in Mogadishu kills 9 people and injures another 13 people. “A car bomb blast struck at a checkpoint near Daljirka, there are some casualties including members of the security forces,” security official Abdukadir Ahmed said after the attack in the south of the city on Wednesday.  Among the dead was former Foreign Minister Hussein Elabe Fahiye who was an advisor to the current Somali President Farmaajo. Al Shabaab claimed the attack. 

AFRICOM conducted two airstrikes in Somalia.  U.S. Africa Command conducted one airstrike near Baled Amin, in the Lower Shabelle region, Somalia, against al-Shabaab militants where two terrorists were killed. U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS-Somalia terrorists in the Golis Mountains, Somalia where the airstrike killed two (2) terrorists.

U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on 26 May 2019. At this time, it is assessed that the airstrike killed three (3) militants. This is the sixth airstrike in the last month against ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab in the Golis Mountains.

Somali authorities in Bardale town in Southern Somalia announced that senior al-Shabaab commander, Ibrahim Mohamed Dan, defected to Somali forces. Ibrahim surrendered his AK47 rifle and a magazine to the authorities.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, other AFRICOM Commander and U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto met with senior Somali officials, including Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire during a visit to Mogadishu. Discussions centred on the progress the U.S. interagency team has witnessed in Somalia, as well as U.S. whole-of-government support for the Federal Government of Somalia to set the conditions required for lasting security and stability. “U.S. security assistance to Somalia is an important part of our efforts to work with the people and government of Somalia for peace and stability,” said Yamamoto.  “Peace and stability for Somalia means more stability in the entire region.  It also means that the people of Somalia will be able to better focus on building a prosperous future.” “Groups such as al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia seek to create a bankrupt future for the Somali people,” said Waldhauser.  “Creating a more secure environment enables the Somali people and government to advance economic and development opportunities in Somalia.” 

At least 10 Kenyan police officer killed in a suspected al-Shabaab attack near the Somalia border. They were killed when their vehicle struck an IED.

U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on 16 June, 2019. At this time, it is assessed that the airstrikes killed two (2) militants.

Al Shabaab claims twin car bombings in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, that killed eight people. The first car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near the presidential palace while the second car bomb exploded at a checkpoint on the road to the airport. No casualties were reported following the second car bomb. “We have confirmed eight people killed and 16 others wounded in the blast,” the private Aamin Ambulance service told AFP news agency on Saturday.

A day after the deadly al-Shabaab attack in North East Kenya that killed 10 police officers, the UN condemned the attack. In a statement, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said that he “condemned an attack that took place on Saturday in Wajir County, Kenya, in which at least eight police officers were killed when their car struck an improvised explosive device (IED).”  He also expressed his deepest condolences “to the families of those killed and to the Governments and people of Kenya and Somalia”, and wished “a quick recovery to the injured”. 

AFRICOM conducts multiplpe airstrikes targeting and killing 4 al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia.

Mukhtar Mohamed Adi, aka Mukhtar Ganey, defected to Somali intelligence (NISA). Adi was part of the Jabha forces in Bay and Bakool regions in Somalia from 2008. He had been previously detained by government forces for links with American al-Shabaab commander, Abu Mansour Al-Amriki but was released.

In the evening, Al-Shabaab militants detonated a Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosion Device (VBIED) outside the As-Asey hotel in Kismayo then stormed the hotel.  16 hours later, the Somali security forces ended the siege. 26 people died as a result of the attack, including a prominent Somali Canadian activist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband. Tribal leaders and regional president aspirant were also among the dead. Nationals from Kenya, Tanzania, and the UK were among the dead. 56 people were also injured in the attack. 

Many analysts suggest the hotel was targeted because it was housing many of the delegates in town to elect the Jubaland parliament and later, the presidency. “There were many people, including officials and elders, mostly from one clan, who were discussing the coming Kismayo election.” 

Al-Shabaab militants carried out an attack near a busy security checkpoint outside Afrik Hotel, killing 17 people and injuring dozens more. “A suicide bomber drove the rigged car into a security checkpoint … at the highway road leading to the airport. We have collected and confirmed the bodies of 17, including the suicide bomber,” Ahmed Bashane, a police officer, told the media.

A New York Times expose claims that Qatar is responsible for some attacks in Somalia. The media house said they had obtained an audio recording from a phone conversation between Qatari ambassador to Somalia and Qatari businessmen close to the Emir of Qatar boasting about militants who had carried out a bombing in the port city of Bosasso, Puntland administration. The attack was meant to advance Qatari interest by driving out rivals, United Arab Emirates (UAE). A UAE affiliated company- DP World, runs the port of Bosasso. The bombing that the audio is recalling took place in May 2018 outside Bosasso courthouse that wounded 10 people, including a judiciary official. In another incident, unknown gunmen assassinated the Head of DP World in Bosasso on 3 February. 

Qatar denied the allegations by the New York Times. “The state of Qatar’s foreign policy has always been one of creating stability and prosperity – we do not meddle in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. Anybody doing so is not acting on behalf of our Government,” the statement said in part. 

Somalia came for Qatar’s Defense, with the Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Isse saying, “the Qatari Government released a statement that they shared with us in which they denied the claim. And we are satisfied with it.”

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive at the Mayor’s office while Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman was chairing a security meeting. Eleven people, all government officials, including district commissioners, were killed by the blast. The Mayor was seriously injured and was later taken to Qatar for specialised treatment. The UN Support Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) head, Ambassador James Swan, was earlier at the security meeting but left before the bombing. 

Following the attack, Somali security agencies revealed a blind female suicide bomber. She had been working in the Mayor’s office for at least a year before the attack. This is the fifth time that al-Shabaab used a female suicide bomber.

Mogadishu Mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman died from injuries sustained in an al-Shabaab attack at his office last week. Following the attack, the Mayor was transported to Qatar to get specialised treatment.

In a military operation, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) took control of Awdheegle town from Al-Shabaab. The recapture of the town is a significant victory to Somalia as the town served as a major source of revenue.

Army General Stephen Townsend, the New commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), visited Somalia and pledged to continue pressuring Al-Shabaab and Islamic State (ISS). He said “I am committed to working together and advancing our partnership with Somalia,” Townsend said in the release. “Along with Somalia and other international partners, we will apply continued pressure on violent extremist organisations. This pressure creates conditions and opportunity for further political and economic development.” “We’re in the business of protecting our country from these threats,” Townsend said. “Degrading the capability of terrorists who operate here makes the entire region safer and prevents its export to other places. This is important work for our country, the Somalis and our allies.”

Two al-Shabaab fighters surrendered to Somali government forces in Jubaland. The two militants, Gedi Mohamed Ali and Abdulaziz Mohamed, were paraded in Afmadow town. They surrender their weapons as well. 

The two defections come after two other militants defected five days prior in Dinsor Town, South West administration.

At least 9 people are reportedly killed, including government forces, after double suicide car bombs were detonated. The vehicle bombs targeted a military base in Awdhegle town, lower Shabelle, Somalia. The attack also killed two al-Shabaab militants. 

U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab terrorist in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on 20 August 2019. At this time, it is assessed that the airstrike killed one (1), terrorist. “This strike is an example of the pressure U.S. Africa Command places on terrorist networks, including the al-Qaida aligned al-Shabaab,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “This persistent pressure limits the terrorists’ freedom of movement, creates confusion within the network, and supports our Somali partners as they continue to take the fight to al-Shabaab.”

Clashes between Ma’awisley, a local militia group affiliated to Somali Government, and Al-Shabaab were reported in the outskirts of Jowhar, Middle Shabelle, in Southern Somalia. Ma’awisley claim to have killed 11 al Shabaab militants and injured an additional 15. The clash occurred after al-Shabaab militants attempted to attack a military base 

Two al-Shabaab militants surrender to government forces in Bay region in Southern Somalia. “The two al-Shabab operatives identified as Mohamed Hassan Osman and Hussein Marshale Mohamed defected from the al-Shabab extremist group and joined government forces in Dinsor town in Bay region,” said Ibrahim Mohamed Nour, governor of Dinsor.

U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting and killing 1 al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia.

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM handed over the Warsheikh Forward Operating Base (FOB), which was manned by Burundi National Defense Force (DNDF) since 2014. As part of the Somali Transitional Plan, AMISOM is supposed to hand over security responsibilities to Somali security forces. The FOB serves to protect the key route that secures the Mogadishu-Cadale main supply route to enable free movement of goods and people.

Two al-Shabaab militants surrender to government forces in Bay region in Southern Somalia. “The two al-Shabab operatives identified as Mohamed Hassan Osman and Hussein Marshale Mohamed defected from the al-Shabab extremist group and joined government forces in Dinsor town in Bay region,” said Ibrahim Mohamed Nour, governor of Dinsor.

Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Burundi AMISOM contingent, killing at least 12 troops. The terrorist group claimed to have killed 14 troops. The Burundian contingent was travelling on the road linking Mogadishu and Jowhar. 

Somali National Army (SNA) liberated three villages from Al-Shabaab in Bay region in Southwestern region of Somalia. Nour Ali Mohamed, acting commander of the Somali military’s 154th battalion, told media that Somali forces liberated Rahole, Biyo-dhale and Bandhub villages from al-Shabaab after an operation against the group in the region.

Somali National Army (SNA) and Al-Shabaab fighters clash in El-Salini area in Lower Shabelle region in Somalia. SNA claims to have killed 13 militants while Al-Shabaab claims to have killed 23 soldiers. The SNA offer refuted AS claims through another officer claimed that 8 soldiers were killed and several others injured. 

Al-Shabaab conducted two separate attacks against the US and Italy in Somalia. The militants hit US base in Baledogle, with explosives before gunmen opened fire on the compound. in Mogadishu, the militants attacked an Italian convoy were train the Somali National Army. Both the EU and the US confirmed the attacks, adding that no personnel were killed or injured by the attack. Interestingly, the attack on the Italian convoy was on the one anniversary of an attack on an Italian convoy in Mogadishu.

Following an al-Shabaab attack on US base in Somalia, AFRICOM released a statement. They comfirmed that al-Shabaab conducted a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device attack at Baledogle Military Airfield (BMA) complex in Baledogle, Somalia on Sept. 30. No US or partner force personnel were injured or killed during the attack. 

“This attack, though ineffective, demonstrates the direct threat al-Shabaab poses to Americans, our allies, and interests in the region,” said Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. “Incidents like this will not compromise the pressure being placed on this terrorist network by the Federal Government of Somalia and international partners.”

In response to this attack and in self-defense, U.S Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes and used small arms fire targeting al-Shabaab terrorists. It is assessed U.S. and partner forces killed ten (10) terrorists and destroyed one (1) vehicle involved in the attack. Currently, U.S. Africa Command assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this attack and airstrike.

U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting and killing 1 al-Shabaab militant near Qunyo Barrow, Somalia.

Mr Fawaz Ahmed Hamdun, one of the most wanted al-Shabaab operatives, was arrested at his house in Mombasa. Mr Hamdun is linked to the DusitD2 complex attack in January 2019 in Nairobi. The accused allegedly played a key role in facilitating the re-entry of DusitD2 suicide bomber Mahir Riziki to Kenya from Somalia to execute the attack. Mr Hamdun was placed on the most-wanted terror list after he was accused of killing a police officer at the Royal Court Hotel in 2014. He then fled to Tanzania. Also, he has helped other young radicalised youth to go to fight in Somalia.

A group of Somali police officers travel to Turkey to receive counterterrorism training. The six-week course is part of a deal between Turkish and Sudanese governments. Currently, 10 police officers have been trained by Turkish officers on 1) how to check residential areas for terror threats and neutralise terrorists in those areas, 2) on handling landmines and homemade explosive devices, and 3) how to respond to attacks. They learned about types of explosives they may come across in counterterrorism operations and how to carry out counterterrorism raids.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and UN Support Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) ended their five-day meeting in Mogadishu, where they agreed on a comprehensive roadmap to guide activities from 2019 to 2021. The Concept of Operations (CONOPs) outlined the main activities that will be undertaken under the Somali Transitional Plan, which details AMISOM’s withdrawal from Somalia. AMISOM and UNSOM hope that by 2021, AMISOM would have handed over security responsibilities to Somali security forces. 

At least ten General Service Unit (GSU) officers were killed when their vehicle ran over an IED on Degoh road in Garissa. The GSU officers were patrolling the road along the Kenya-Somalia border when the attack took place. A joint patrol team of Kenya Defense Forces, Administration Police, Rapid Response Police Unit and Police have been dispatched to the area. 

Police in Somalia has handed over two suspected al-Shabaab members to Kenyan authorities. The duo is suspected of having fled to Somalia after committing crimes in Kenya. The two suspects were found with several loaded firearms and other explosives.

Al-Shabaab attacked Dabajabula police station, Wajir county, in Kenya, where two suspected militants were arrested. They attacked the police station with heavy artillery, including Rocket-propelled grenades (RPG). For twenty minutes, the police, backed later by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), and the militants exchanged fire. By the end, 2 militants were killed, and two police officers and a reservist were nursing injuries. 

Clashes between Somali National Army, backed by Jubaland regional state forces, and Al-Shabaab results in the death of seven militants and wounding eight others. A senior commander commented on the clashes, saying that “We started the offensive in Koban village passing through Bangeni, Arare and Mana Mufo villages and there was stiff resistance from the militants, but our forces finally drove them out of those villages.” A villager confirmed the incident, adding that “The government army attacked Al-Shabaab militants in the town, both sides exchanged heavy fire, but the forces are now in the town, and the militants are outside of it.” 

3 al-Shabaab members were charged with planting IEDs in Mogadishu on various targets. Two suspects were accused of planting nine IEDs targeting government forces and African Union peacekeepers while the third was accused of storing IEDs in his shop. One of the suspects, who is accused of joining the terror group in 2016, had previously been arrested for training others in making car bombs but was released. 

On Nov. 5, al-Shabaab released a 52-minute video narrated by al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Omar Abu Ubeyda calling for attacks against Americans wherever they are.  The al-Shabaab leader specifically said, “Our biggest target today is the Americans, not the apostates,” he says. “The only reason we have exerted all this effort and undertaken all this preparation today is to attack the American troops.  Therefore you must carry out the operation with great efficiency.”  The Emir is talking to militants before the raid on the US base in Somalia in Ballidogle. The video does not show the images of the Emir but rather we see his hands and shoulders and his face is blurred out. 

The U.S. has offered a reward of up to $6 million for information leading to Ubaidah’s capture.  Ubaidah, previously known as Ahmed Diriye, became al-Shabab’s emir in 2014 after the death of the previous leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane.

Somali military court based in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, has sentenced eight men and a woman after being found guilty of being part of the terror group, Al-Shabaab, One suspect was sentenced to life in prison, five were sentenced to 15 years in prison while 2 were sentenced to 8 years. One suspected who was accused of the rest was found to be innocent and was released. 

AFRICOM commander, Gen Stephen Townsend, met with Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo” and Somali National Army (SNA) Chief of Staff, Gen. Mohamed Ali Barise. The objective of his trip is to 1) discuss the US and Somalia security development since his last visit on July, 2) visit American troops and assess the progress of the US counterterrorism campaign in East Africa and 2) assess the progress made against Al-Shabaab and ISIS. Gen Townsend said, “Al-Shabaab, and ISIS, are a threat to our African partners, to U.S. interests in East Africa as well as to the U.S. homeland. They possess the desire and intent to attack the U.S. Due to the persistent pressure our campaign puts on al-Shabaab and ISIS, we believe they lack the actual capability to attack our homeland, but we must stay vigilant and keep pressing them. U.S operations help to build critical Somali defence capability and counter-terrorist plots and plans,” Townsend said. “Our actions keep Somalia, the region, and the U.S. safer and more secure.”

134 Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers completed a two months training at the UK funded military academy in Baidoa, South West regional state. The soldiers acquired skills in field-craft leadership, human rights, first-aid treatment, patrolling and the delivery of defensive operations. The UK ambassador to Somalia Ben Fender praised the soldiers for completing the training and reiterated his country’s commitment to rebuilding Somalia’s security forces.”

The Somali regional state, Puntland, executed five men found guilty of being members of ISIS and Al-Shabaab. The militants were blindfolded with their hand-tied to poles behind their back before they were shot dead with a firing squad. The men were between the ages of 19 and 39. 

U.S. Africa Command conducts an airstrike targeting and killing 3 al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia. 

The District Commissioner of Aw-Dhegle town in southern Somalia was killed with an IED planted by al-Shabaab. Aw Dhegle was recently liberated by Somali Armed Forces, with the support of African Union troops, AMISOM.

Kenyan police foiled an al-Shabaab aimed at disrupting communication services and possibly conduct a secondary IED attack in northeastern Kenya. The regional commissioner said that the militants crossed the porous Kenya-Somalia border. The militants managed only to destroy a diesel generator that powers telecommunication mast after they struck at around 1 AM in Diiso village.

At least eleven people were killed when al-Shabaab militants stormed into a bus travelling in northeastern Kenya. The majority of the dead were police officers going back to their duty station in El Wak, a border town with Somalia. The bus was en route from Nairobi to Mandera. Commuters on the bus told the media that the militants targeted non-Muslim passengers. Three Christians managed to escape. 

Days after the attack, the police arrested the driver and one passenger of the bus as potential accomplices of the attack. 

On the evening of 9 December, 5 Al-Shabaab militants stormed the Somali Youth League (SYL) hotel, a popular hangout spot for government officials and high ranking Somali National Army (SNA) officials). Unlike previous attacks, the group did not use a VBIED to kill maximum civilians then storm the building. SNA quickly killed three of the attackers. The reminder two militants took their positions at the top of the hotel. At the end of the seven-hour siege, ten people were killed – 5 attackers, 2 civilians and 3 SNA. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ahmed Ali Aybakar, a key al-Shabaab facilitator, sentenced to ten years in prison by the Mogadishu military court. He allegedly rented homes for the militants for them to escape detection

Al Shabaab has claimed the attack outside the Galkayo Hotel in Northern Somalia. The car bomb killed seven civilians, a local military officer said. Local media speculates that the intended target of the attack was General Abdihamid Mohamed Dirir, who was in the hotel and managed to escape the attack unharmed.

 

On Saturday morning, at around 8 AM, a Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosion (SVBIED) detonated at a busy checkpoint in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu. According to government records, at least 86 people were killed and 125 injured. Independent sources place the death toll to over 100. Qatar and Turkey airlifted some of the seriously injured victims of the attack to their respective countries. 

A day after the attack, Al-Shabaab was forced to take responsibility following a report by the Somali intelligence community that said that the attack was conducted with the support of a foreign country. Many local Somali and Turkish media were quick to place the blame on Qatar though there was no proof. 

Al-Shabaab later claimed the attack, which was unusual for the insurgent group. They do not usually claim attacks that have many civilian deaths. The militant group apologised to the families that lost their loved ones and told them that the civilians who died are martyrs. The group also claimed that the attack did not kill as many civilians as the Government reported. Al-Shabaab said that the attack targeted Turkish nationals who were manning the post and engineers who were doing construction work near the checkpoint.

U.S. Africa Command conducted three (3) airstrikes in two (2) locations targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow and Caliyoow Barrow, Somalia, respectively, 29 December. The initial assessment concluded that two airstrikes killed two (2) terrorists and destroyed two (2) vehicles in Qunyo Barrow, and one airstrike killed two (2) terrorists in Caliyoow Barrow.

Kenyan soldiers killed four suspected al-Shabaab fighters and captured another after they attempted to attack a bus in Lamu county, Kenya. The militants sprayed bullets on a bus that refused to stop for them. The police are yet to release the official figures of casualties. 

At 5:30 AM, Al-Shabaab militants attempted to breach the parameters of the Manda Bay camp, alias Simba Camp, a shared camp with US and Kenyan troops. The militants were only managed to reach the airstrip as the US and Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) repelled the attack. The group managed to set on fire to infrastructure and equipment, including an aircraft, at the airstrip. AFRICOM announced that one US service member and two departments of Defense contractors were killed in the attack. Two additional Department of Defense members were wounded but are in stable conditions.

AFRICOM confirms the al-Shabaab attack in Manda Bay airstrip in Kenya.  Manda Bay is an area where U.S. forces provide training and counter-terrorism support to East African partners. Initial reports reflect damage to infrastructure and equipment. An accountability of personnel assessment is underway.  The final analysis is that one (1) U.S. service member and two (2) Department of Defense contractors were killed at a Kenya Defense Force Military Base in Manda Bay, Kenya. In addition, two (2) Department of Defense members were wounded. The wounded Americans are currently in stable condition and being evacuated.

“Al-Shabaab resorts to lies, coercion, and the exertion of force to bolster their reputation to create false headlines,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations.

U.S. Africa Command’s East Africa Response Force (EARF) arrived at Manda Bay, Kenya, Jan. 5, to augment security to secure the airfield after an attack by al-Shabaab terrorists. “The EARF provides a critical combat-ready, rapid deployment force,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “The EARF’s ability to respond to events spanning a vast area of responsibility provides a proven and invaluable on-call reinforcement capability in times of need.” The EARF, under the command and control of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, responds to a broad range of military operations including the protection of U.S. citizens and diplomatic facilities, support for non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, and other missions as directed. 

Four school children at a primary school in Kenya were killed in the suspected al-Shabaab attack. Three of the four school children belong to the same family.  Two suspected militants were killed when local police responded to the attack. 

Senior U.S. Africa Command officials visited partner forces and U.S. troops stationed at Camp Simba and Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya.  “I immediately sent members of my command team to hear directly from our troops and commanders on the ground about the details of the attack by al-Shabaab,” said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. “I want ground truth to assess the situation and hear from the troops to ensure they have what they need to accomplish their mission. As the circumstances surrounding this attack are investigated, our deepest condolences remain with the families of our fallen teammates. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten.”

Following the Manda Bay airstrip attack where 3 Americans were killed, al-Shabaab issued a statement detailing the attack.  al-Shabaab tells Kenya to withdraw all its troops from Somalia or face further attacks. The group added that citizens and tourists visiting the country “will no longer be safe” during their holidays and travells.  

At least 5 al-Shabaab militants were killed and others injured after Jubaland Security Forces (JSF) raided their base in Lower Juba region. 

3 non-local teachers working at Kamuthe primary school were killed by al-Shabaab militants. The militants also attacked the Kamuthe police post, and Safaricom telecommunications mast.

Danab, US-trained Somali Special Forces, recaptured Toratorow, a key revenue collection region for al-Shabaab.  “Our Somalia National Army liberated Toratorow from al-Shabaab without any resistance from the militants. Ten militants were arrested during the operation,” Ismail Malin, the Commander of the 16 Brigade, told journalists. Ten militants were arrested during the military operation.  

U.S. Africa Command conducts an airstrike targeting and killing 2 al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia.

SNA officials claim more than 40 militants and 4 soldiers were killed after al-Shabaab attacked an SNA military base in middle Shabelle region, Somalia.  An additional 30 militants and 3 other soldiers were wounded during the gunfight. 

At least four people have been killed and 15 others wounded in a suicide car bomb claimed by al-Shabaab in Afgoye, 20KM south-west of Mogadishu. A suicide car bomber drove his car into a place where Turkish engineers and Somali police were having lunch. According to the Turkish Health Minster, Fahrettin Koca, six Turkish nationals were wounded by the bombing, two of whom are in critical conditions and are undergoing surgery. 

al-Shabaab, who claimed responsibility the attack, explicitly said that they are targeting Turkish nationals working in Somalia in a statement following the 28 December bombing that killed at least 80 people. 

Kenyan security agencies thwart an al-Shabaab attack who attempted to attack Pandanguo village in Witu Division, Lamu county, Kenya. The gun battle, which was between at least 50 heavily armed suspected al-Shabaab militants and unspecified number of security forces, lasted for about five hours. 

U.S. Africa Command conducts an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants who engaged Somali National Army Danab Unit near Bangeeni, Somalia, Jan. 19. This attack kills 3 militants.

Zubair al-Muhajir, a British national but originally from Ivory Coast, defected to the Somali government troops. He is believed to be one of the most senior foreign fighters. 

Zubair travelled from London to join al-Shabaab in 2006. He rose through the ranks to be part of the Shura Council of religious scholars, one of the key governing bodies within the militant group.  In 2011, his guidance was sought after to mediate the tension between the founding members Godane, then leader of al-Shabaab but was killed in an airstrike in 2014, and Ibrahim al-Afghani, Mukhtar Robow, who defected to the government in 2018, and Faud Khalaf Shongole.  His mediation efforts were not successful as Godane called for the execution of al-Afghani in June 2013. He has been at odds with the group since 2013 when he was arrested and jailed by al-Shabaab for three years. 

According to an interview, Zubair said that he defected because he believed that the group was using the Sharia law to “lie to the Muslims and to the world.” 

John Muimi surrendered himself to the police, telling them that he was an al-Shabaab returnee who had fleed from the militant group in Somalia.  John, who is from Samburu region in Kenya, told the police that he joined the group in June 2019 and was taken to Likoni, Mombasa on November 29 the same year.  After Mombasa, he was taken to Mandera, a border town along the Somali-Kenya border, then was transported to Somalia for training. He claims that he was transported alsongside six other Kenyans.  John claims that he only underwent a month-long training before fleeing back to Kenya on 6 January.  He is currently under investigation by Anti-terror unit. 

A local Somali signer was arrested by the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) who they claim is a spy for al-Shabaab. NISA posted a video on Twitter showing the singer allegedly confessing that he was a finance manager for the group.  He will be handed over to the courts for prosecution after he is interrogated by NISA. 

al-Shabaab, through its media, refused the claims, saying the singer has no relation with the group. 

According to the investigation on the attack, al-Shabaab initiated mortar fire on the Kenyan Defense Force installation and Camp Simba, while simultaneously assaulting the airfield. U.S. forces are primarily located at Camp Simba, about one mile from the airfield. Shortly after the attack began, U.S. forces at Camp Simba quickly responded and actively counterattacked the enemy at the airfield. U.S. forces and Kenyan Defense Forces repelled the attack, killing five al-Shabaab terrorists with no additional losses to U.S. or Kenyan personnel. While numbers are still being verified, it is estimated that several dozen al-Shabaab fighters were repelled. Because of the size of the Kenyan base, clearance and security operations continued for several more hours to ensure the entire base was secure. 

The three Americans killed in the Manda Bay attack are  U.S. Army Spc. Henry J. Mayfield, Jr., and two U.S. contractors, Mr. Bruce Triplett and Mr. Dustin Harrison.

U.S. Africa Command conducts an airstrike targeting and killing 1 al-Shabaab militant in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia.

Ahmed Ali Omar and Abdulkadir Ali Abdi, two of the twenty Somali-Americans who left America to join al-Shabaab, are no remorseful for joining the group.  The two have been in hiding for the last sixteen months from the group then defected to the government officials, along with other al-Shabaab members.  Omar and Abdi said that began moving away from the group after the indiscriminate bombing of 14 October 2017 that killed at least 600 people.  After defecting to government officials, the two went through a reabilitation program. 

The Wadajir district police commissioner was fired following mortars shells targeting the so-called Green zone, also known as Halane by the locals, which houses UN, AMISOM and other international partners and organisations.  The mortar attack was claimed by al-Shabaab.

al-Shabaab militants attacked a construction site in Milihoi area in Lamu County, destroying two vehicles. The drivers of the vehicles managed to escape unharmed.  The drivers said that the KDF in the area responded in less than 5 minutes, thwarting any further attacks. 

In an operation in Lower Shabelle, Somali National Army (SNA) claims to have killed at least 12 militants during a clash.  The commander fo the 16th unit of the Somali Special Forces, Ismail Abdi Malik, the army launched an attack on an al-Shabaab base in Wan lawayn town. 

al-Shabaab launched twin attacks on SNA military bases in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. The first base attacked was El-Salini, some 55 KM southwest of Mogadishu, where the SNA repulsed the attack. at least nine militants were killed in the first attack while four Somali soldiers were killed. 

The second attack, an attack on Qoryoley base, which is located 120 km from Mogadishu,  was repulsed with the help of AMISOM Troops. 

U.S. Africa Command conducts a precision airstrike targeting and killing 3 al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Wadajir, Somalia.

At least three people were killed, and six others injured during an al-Shabaab attack on a public bus in North East Kenya.

Suspected al-Shabaab militants attack an ethnically Somali police reservist’s home in Sangalu area in Garissa, Kenya. No casualties have been reported. This attack is the fourth of its kind in the month of February. The militants claim that the reservists are feeding information about their whereabouts to security agencies.  

Post-strike assessments confirm two militants killed precision airstrikes. The two militants were identified as a senior al-Shabaab leader, who was in charge of planning and directing terrorist operations on the Kenya border region, including the recent attack on Manda Bay, and his wife, who also was a witting and active member of al-Shabaab responsible for facilitating a wide range of terrorist activities.

The suspected perpetrator is Bashir Mohamed Mohamoud, aka Bashi  Qoorgab, according to AFRICOM spokesperson Col Chris Karns. Qoorgaab, who has been part of the group as early as from 2008, is one of the most battle-hardened al-Shabaab commanders of the military or Jabhat. Two Jabhat units operate in Kenya including the notorious Jaysh Ayman unit which attacked Manda Bay.  Before he led the Jabhat, he led al-Shabaab’s special militia commandos, Jugta Ulus. The US placed him in the designated terrorist list in April 2010 and placed a $5 million bounty on his head. 

Locals in Somalia claim that an AFRICOM airstrike has killed Mohamud Haji Sarid, a local manager of Hormuud, Somalia’s largest telecom company. AFRICOM statement claims that its airstrike killed one terrorist. The locals, and Sarid’s wife, say that the two airstrikes struck his farm on the outskirts of rebel headquarters, Jilib.    

Note: This is not the first instance in which the locals have claimed that US airstrikes have killed civilians.  Amnesty International in 2019 also released their reports with evidence that between 2017 and 2018, the AFRICOM airstrike killed at least eight people. AFRICOM responded to the claims saying that they will look into the allegations, though they acknowledge that in separate instances not mentioned by Amnesty International, two civilians were killed. 

al-Shabaab claims responsibility for the mortar attack on the Green-zone, which houses the UN, AU and other international partners and organisations, in Mogadishu. Local media reports two to four mortars were fired towards the Green-zone. None of the inhabitants comfirmed the attack nor stated the number of casualties. 

From the beginning of 2020, al-Shabaab has conducted several attacks on schools in North-East Kenya. The increased number of attacks was followed by a video by the extremist group saying that all non-local teachers should leave the area immediately or the group will continue their attacks on teachers. The sustained attacks on teachers prompted an education crisis with thousands of non-local teachers fleeing the area.  With limited teachers, many schools have been forced to close. 

Two people were killed in Garissa county after an ambulance hit an improvised explosive device (IED) while a patient was being rushed to the hospital. This attack comes just two days after two police officers died after their vehicle hit an IED

According to Somalia’s intelligence (NISA), al-Shabaab leader, Ahmed Omar Abu Ubaida, took charge of Amniyat (intelligence) wing of Mogadishu. This comes barely a week after the death of al-Shabaab’s intelligence chief of Mogadishu, Muse Moalim.  Suspected al-Shabaab militants killed Moalim in Saakow town a month after he resigned from his post over “irresponsible difference” between him and the head of Amniyat around the country, Ahmed Omar Diriye. In addition to collecting intelligence, Amniyat facilitates attacks in the capital and neighbouring villages and towns.

At dawn on 16 March 2020, Somali special forces, Danab, supported by African Union Mission troops (AMISOM), began an operation to liberate the city of Janaale that has been under the control of the extremist group Al-Shabaab for years. Following the operation, troops ensured that the no elements of the extremist group did not remain in the city.

AFRICOM spokesperson Major Karl Wiest told the media that at least 15 al-Shabaab militants were killed in an airstrike this week.  According to the spokesperson, the killed militant posed an “imminent threat” to international forces who liberated the city of Janaale a few days earlier.

Somali special forces, Danab, captured a senior al-Shabaab militant in lower Shabelle region, ministry of information said. The militant was identified as Ibrahim Mohamed Roble.

The governor of Nugaal region in Puntland region was killed a suicide attack. The governor, Abdisalan Hassan Hersi, was immediately taken to the hospital but the doctors were unable to save his life, according to a police officer. A former police commander and a civilian were also wounded in the blast and are receiving treatment at a hospital. According to witnesses, the suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into the governor’s car, which was parked.  Al-Shabaab claimed the attack.

A Somali intelligence official has confirmed that a recent airstrike (2 April) killed Al-Shabaab senior official, Yusuf Jiis. The airstrike took place in Dinsor town, an al-Shabaab controlled area. The press statement by AFRICOM noted that a key al-Shabaab leader was killed in the attack.  The statement further said that the killed leader was a “violent, ruthless and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives.” VOA reported that Jiis was in charge of the humanitarian agency for the terror group. He has also been accused of raiding and looting the offices of aid agencies in 2009.

Al-Shabaab attempted and failed to penetrate the parameter of the Barawe airport. The militants intended to use two explosive-laden vehicles to breach the parameter but were overwhelmed by the joint effort by the Somali and AMISOM troops. No troops were injured or killed in the attack. Al-Shabaab claimed the attack, adding that the attack resulted “in huge losses in the ranks of the Ugandan forces.”

Somali militant group, al-Shabaab, executed 3 of its own members for alleged spying on behalf of western intelligence agencies, residents and regional officials said.  According to the district commissioner, Colonel Nur Hassan Gutale, the three men were executed by a firing squad.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide car attack that killed the Mudug region governor and his three bodyguards. Other bystanders were also injured in the attack, but security officials did not provide details.

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces said that three al-Shabaab militants were killed, and other wounded, during a foiled attack on Jubaland security forces. According to AMISOM, 20 heavily armed militants launched a dawn attack on Jubaland forces in Bilis Qooqani. KDF released different statistics saying that the KDF forces supporting Jubaland forces killed 5 militants. The spokesperson said that three militants died on the spot while two died later while receiving treatment.

Al-Shabaab announced that they have set up a coronavirus treatment centre in their headquarters, Jilib Town. One of the officials told residents in the area should present themselves to the centre if they develop symptoms

A suspected al-Shabaab suicide bomber attacked a Mogadishu-based Turkish-built military base. At least two people were killed in the blast, which occurred after the bomber, disguised as a Somali military recruit, infiltrated a queue to enter the base. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that seven government soldiers were killed and 14 others wounded in the attack, claims that were exaggerated.

A suicide bomber attacked a Somali military base in Bacaadweyn, in north-central Mudug region. Local media reported that the suicide bomber did not breach the perimeter of the base. At least six people were killed, including two soldiers. Al-Shabaab claimed both attacks, through their Shahada News Agency.

Mohamed Mohamud Siyad, a regional Somali lawmaker, was abducted and killed by al-Shabaab militants near Bal’ad town, 30KM north of Mogadishu.

Kenyan police noted that the border towns are on high alert after repulsing three attacks by the extremist group, al-Shabaab, in Garissa, Mandera and Wajir. Rono Bunei, northeastern regional police commander, stated that the militants tend to destroy communication mast to disrupt police response and communication in the area before they can inflict harm on the locals.

  • The head of the Somali military, General Yusuf Raghe, escaped unhurt when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into his convoy in Mogadishu. Unfortunately, one civilian was killed in the attack with six others injured.  Colonel Abdiqani Ali, a military spokesman, said. “The commander’s guards opened fire on the suicide car bomb as it speedily tried to swerve into the convoy. The bomber was shot dead, and his car bomb exploded. The commander and his guards escaped unhurt.” Al-Shabaab commented on the attack, saying that “We conducted a martyrdom operation in Mogadishu. The target was a military convoy escorting senior apostate commanders.” 

Kenyan police confirmed that an al-Shabaab operative killed himself while assembling a roadside bomb in Mandera near the Somali border. Rono Bunei, northeastern regional police commander, confirmed the incident, adding that the police in the region have enhanced security operations in the area to ensure such incidents do not take place.

Mogadishu military court sentenced would-be suicide bomber, Said Biriq Mohamud, to life in prison. Mr Mohamud botched a suicide bombing in Mogadishu in June 2019 when he attempted to detonate a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). The al-Shabaab operative was stopped by security officers who shot at the operative before he could get to his destination.

Foreign Policy report claims Iran established covert ties with the Somali extremist group Al-Shabaab. The report claims that Iran is using the terror group to attack the US military and other foreign forces in Somalia and the region. The claims are based on comments by unidentified senior government and security official familiar with intelligence and briefed on the matter. The report alleges Iran “has a proxy network in Somalia and uses facilitators to provide support to violent extremist organisations to counter the influence of the United States and the Persian Gulf States.” According to the Somali Defense Ministry and security officials, Iranian money, weapons and ammunition may have been used in 2019 and 2020 Al-Shabaab attacks on US military bases in Somalia and northern Kenya.

The Somali National Army, alongside the South West regional state forces, killed at least four Al-Shabaab fighters during a joint security operation in Wigli District in Bay region. The latest operation is part of the ongoing intensified operations to rid the Bay region of al-Shabaab militants, especially in the rural areas

In its quarterly report, AFRICOM admitted to a civilian death in Somalia as a result of an airstrike. The airstrike in question took place on 2 February in the Somali town and headquarter of the Al-Shabaab militant group, Jilib, killed Nurto Kusow Omar Abukar, an 18-year-old, and injured his two younger sisters and grandmother. Amnesty International first reported the allegations

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed that they had conducted an airstrike on Al-Shabaab’s stronghold of Jilib killing one suspected terrorist.  AFRICOM commented on the allegations on social media that the airstrike killed a civilian, noting that the preliminary assessment of the incident shows that no civilian was injured. Somalis were sceptical of AFRICOM’s assessment since they were forced to admit to civilian deaths after an Amnesty International report detailing civilian casualties.

A suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden vehicle at the gates of a military base in Mogadishu kills eight soldiers. A military official noted that the death toll is expected to rise due to the extent of the bomb.  Witnesses to the attack claim that the soldiers opened fire at the vehicle after the suicide bomber struck the gate.  

This is the latest of similar type of attacks where suicide bombers drive explosives-laden cars into their intended targets. In July, the Somali military chief escaped such an attack unhurt when his convoy was hit in Mogadishu. 

Al-Shabaab inmates attempted to escape from the central prison in Mogadishu. The Somali security forces responded to the attack, shooting dead four of the armed inmates while two others were injured. The after incident report indicated that the inmates were able to obtain three pistols and six hand grenades. One inmate is believed to have escaped the facility, killing a tuk-tuk driver and another civilian outside the prison. The security forces did not inform the public of the details of the escapee. The government has formed a committee to investigate how the inmates were able to have weapons inside the prison.

At least 10 are reported killed and five other wounded in a fierce gun battle between Al-Shabaab and a local militia in Galmudug state. The fighting began when the extremist group attempted to impose taxes on residents of a village in the region. Eight civilians and an unconfirmed number of militants were killed.

The extremist group al-Shabaab attacked a popular seaside Elite hotel killing at least 11 civilians and one police officer. The militants detonated a car bomb outside the entrance of the hotel then a handful of fighters stormed the hotel.  The Somali security forces quickly ended the four-hour siege, killing all the attackers.

AFRICOM announced that its airstrike in southwest Somalia killed a high ranking member of al-Shabaab, a suspected bomb maker. Somali military stated that the area was targeted due to intelligence that the extremist group was preparing to launch an attack against the Somali government forces’. 

Three al-Shabaab militants were killed while planting an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Northeastern town of Garissa. Four other militants are reportedly injured in the same accident.

The US military has asked the Kenyan government permission to carry out covert drone strikes in Kenya according to the New York Times. The attack on Manda Bay, a Kenyan/US base in Kenya, at the beginning of the year which left one American solider and two contractors dead was a major catalyst for seeking permission to expand the drone strikes. 

A month later, after the New York Times article, President Uhuru of Kenya stated that Kenya would not allow America to expand its drone programme. 

Hussein Fidow, a leader of local militia known as Ma’awisley, was killed on the spot in the outskirts of Beledweyne with central Somalia.  Officials in the area noted that 20 Al-Shabaab militants attacked the area then escaped into the bushes following the attack. The security forces have launched a man-hunt for the militants  but so far, none have been caught or arrested. His death has dealt a major blow to the militia group since they have been critical in the fight against the terrorist group, al-Shabaab.

Kenyan soldiers killed at least 5 al-Shabaab militants after they attempted to ambush a military convoy in Mandera County in Kenya. A Kenyan security official was also killed in the exchange of fire

At least 16 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed, and at least 40 children were rescued in an operation in south-western Somalia in the recently liberated Bariire town. “During the operation in Nuuney village outside Bariire town, the military managed to rescue at least 40 children hailing from different parts of the country,” Ahmed Hassan Salad, a military commander, told the media. The children were likely kidnapped to be used as child soldiers and potentially suicide bombers. 

A military court in Puntland sentenced one suspected al-Shabaab to death and four others to various jail sentences after they were found guilty of abetting terrorism.  The court sentenced Mohamed Mohamed Said to death over terrorism-related incidents after he pleaded guilty.  The accused admitted to coordinating attacks for the terrorist group al-Shabaab while also spearheading recruitment of youths to the group. The rest of the defendants were sentenced to 15 years

While speaking at a local event, Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo stated that his government had weakened al-Shabaab. “Our gallant forces have recovered strategic locations and dislodged the terrorist groups from our midst. With continued support to our security forces, and political stability, we shall win. His comments come as the country prepares for elections.

Al-Shabaab’s intelligence chief, Abdulaziz Awoowe , was killed in an operation conducted by US trained special forces, Danab, in Leego. The al-Shabaab leader worked within the intelligence unit, Amniyat, while also acting as an explosives expert. He is also accused of waging deadly operations in Lower Shabelle against the security forces, senior government officials and civilians believed to be SNA spies. His death has dealt a great blow to al-Shabaab. 

Suspected Al-Shabaab militants sprayed bullets on a passenger vehicle in northeastern Kenya, hurting 8 civilians. The deputy commissioner of Mandera County, Joshua Kitakwa, confirmed the attack, adding that there are no reported fatalities so far. Out of the eight injured civilians, four are in critical condition

A Kenyan court found two men guilty of helping al-Shabaab fighters launch the 2013 attack of Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi Kenya. The attack killed at least 67 people and wounded hundreds of others. The two men were found guilty of conspiracy of committing a terrorist act and supporting a terrorist group. The prosecution is pushing for the maximum sentence of 20 years. 

The courts acquitted a third man who faced similar charges. His lawyers announced after the verdict that their client is missing after being picked up by armed men. The lawyers believe that their client was grabbed by Kenya’s Anti-terror unit, tasked with interrogating suspected terrorists.  

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) pledged to work closely for joint military operations against al-Shabaab. AMISOM Force Commander said, “the mission is taking a new direction as we get to the end stage and prepare the transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces. The reconfiguration will enable us to maintain operational effectiveness, conduct offensives, and respond to threats in our Area of responsibility.” The two sides agreed that the liberation of cities and towns is a major priority.

A military court in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland sentenced two men, Ismail Abdullahi Ibrahim and Hassan Kulow Ibrahim, found guilty of being members of al-Shabaab to life in prison. Local police arrested the two men on 21 August this year. The court also sent Mohamad Ibrahim to juvenile jail as he awaits trial in a civil court. 

79 tons of sulphuric acid was seised in Somalia. Local authorities say that the key ingredient of making bombs was being smuggled to the extremist group al-Shabaab. The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) and Anti-Terrorism Partnership are investigating the matter and vow to hold the responsible parties accountable. 

A suspected al-Shabaab attack killed at least 13 Somali soldiers in Afgoye, 30 KM from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. According to a military official, the Somali soldiers were ambushed when a platoon left their base. Local media is reporting that one of the dead is a top military official though names were Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 24 government soldiers, but it is likely less as they are known to exaggerate the extent of casualties in their attacks. 

Based on a United Nations Security Council report, Al-Shabaab generated about $ 13 million between December 2019 and August 2020. The extremist group found new ways to make millions through the banking system of Somalia, extortion of businesses, checkpoints, and investing in real estate in the region. 

The report also notes that the federal government of Somalia has enabled the group to thrive financially. “Al-Shabaab remains in a strong financial position and is generating a significant budgetary surplus, some of which is invested in property and businesses in Mogadishu, the report says in part.   

In an operation in Barire town in Southern Somalia, 18 al-Shabaab militants were killed by soldiers part of the Somali National Army (SNA) 143rd Unit. Ahmed Hassan Ziyad, Commander of the Unit, said, “The militants suffered casualties in a stiff confrontation with our forces. We killed 18 of them.”

Jubaland Special Forces, supported by Kenyan forces, foiled an attack at Tabta near the Kenya Defence Forces forward operating base (FOBs). A heavy gunfight ensued after the attempted attack. 

A military court in Mogadishu convicted 11 people over links to a prison break that saw several inmates and prison guards in August. Mubarak Ibrahim, an al-Shababa militant who was serving a 10 years term who escaped from prison, was sentenced to death in absentia.  Mohamed Nur Isaaq, who delivered food to inmates, was sentenced for 5 years of smuggling in weapons ahead of the attack. Six guards were part of the 11 people who were sentenced by the military court. They were given sentences ranging from six months to five years for their involvement in helping al-Shabaab militant escape.

U.S trained DANAB forces conducted an attack in Middle Jubba region against al-Shabaab where they killed Abdullahi Osman alias Dhege Adde, a high ranking al-Shabaab official. Adde was in charge of the militant’s media needs.

A senior al-Shabaab commander, Hassan Sufta Qorey,  was killed in Arabow, in Middle Jubba, in one of al-Shabaab’s strongholds. During the crackdown, six other militants were killed in a gunfight. The soldiers siesed weapons as well. 

The UN Security Council voted to prevent the sale or export of explosive components that could be used to create improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The council stated that there is a significant risk that the materials can be used in an attack by Al-Shabaab. The resolution, which was approved by a 13-0 vote by Russia and China, reaffirmed the arms embargo on Somalia and to ban the sale or transfer of weapons or military equipment.

The militant group, al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attack at a restaurant in Mogadishu.  A suicide bomber blew himself up at a restaurant near a police academy, killing five people. Two of the deceased were police personnel. More than ten people were wounded and rushed to the hospital, some in severe conditions. 

A witness, shopkeeper Mohamed Ali, told Reuters news agency police opened fire after the blast went off. He said he could see huge clouds of smoke rising above the restaurant and ambulances trying to reach the site in the city’s Hamar Jajab district near Mogadishu port.

The US designated two senior al-Shabaab leaders as specially designated global terrorists under executive order 13224, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter. According to the State Department, Abdullahi Osman Mohamed is an explosives expert in charge of “overall management of all al-Shabaab’s explosives operations and manufacturing,” and is also the leader of the media wing, Al-Kitaib, and Maalim Ayman, the leader of Jaysh Ayman, the unit conducting attacks and operations along the Kenyan- Somali border. Ayman is also responsible for preparing the January 2020 attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay, Kenya, that killed one US military service member and two American contractors. 

A family of seven was brutally killed by unknown gunmen in Wajid district, Bakool region, in South West state in Somalia. Among the dead were a pregnant mother and four children.

Both local and national leaders widely condemned the attack. The Minister of Justice

extended his deepest condolences to the family.

The local officials blamed al-Shabaab for the attack, saying that the father was a soldier. The Justice Minister also uttered a similar sentiment, saying that “killing a pregnant mother and children is only possible from the unscrupulous al-Shabaab.” No group, including al-Shabaab, have claimed responsibility for the attack

Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for the suicide attack on a popular ice cream parlour that killed eight people. Foreigners and government officials frequented the ice cream parlour. The attack comes just hours after another blast in the morning that targeted Ahmed Washington, the Mogadishu port’s general manager, who survived. Two of his aides died in the blast

Three al-Shabaab members were executed by firing squad by the Somali military in Mogadishu. One of the executed individuals was identified as Mohamed Haji Amed Ilkacse, who was accused of being the chief of the assassination unit in Mogadishu. The other two were allegedly part of the assassination unit.

Al-Shabaab attempted to overrun a Somali military base in Beledweyne, Mudug region, Somalia but was thwarted quickly by the Somali soldiers.  Minister of Information, Osman Dubbe, said 51 militants were killed, and another six were arrested. Local reports also left 15 other people, including an unspecified number of soldiers, dead. 

Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 53 troops and seized six military vehicles, including an anti-aircraft gun, during the attack. 

AFRICOM announced they carried out two airstrikes in al-Shabaab’s capital, killing eight commanders. The AFRICOM statement noted that the deceased were explosives experts.

Al-Shabaab released a video identifying the five attackers that partook in the Dusit hotel attack in Nairobi, Kenya, through its media outlets. The seven-minute clip identified the attackers as Osman Ahmed, Ali Salim, Abdigani Arap Yusuf, Mohamed Adam Nur and Mahir Khalid. Three of the attackers were Somali, while the other two were Kenyan.   The video explained that the attack was a response to American President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Three police officers part of the Jubaland Police Forces (JPF) defected to al-Shabaab in Jilib, the administrative capital of the terror group. The men were given $1 000 after they handed over their weapons to the group.

Three police officers part of the Jubaland Police Forces (JPF) defected to al-Shabaab in Jilib, the administrative capital of the terror group. The men were given $1 000 after they handed over their weapons to the group.

A US court charged an al-Shabaab militant for planning a 9/11-style attack on the US.  The militant, Cholo Abdi Abdullah, a Kenyan citizen, was arrested in July 2019 in the Philippines and extradited to the US to face six counts of terrorism-related offences. In a virtual hearing, the defendant pleaded not guilty to all the charges. According to the acting Manhattan US attorney Audrey Strauss, Abdallah obtained pilot training in the Philippines as part of an al-Shabaab plot in which they planned to hijack a commercial aircraft and crash it into a building in the US. According to the prosecution, Cholo researched how to hijack a commercial airlines flight, including how to breach a locked cockpit door from the cabin. He will remain in custody until the hearing in January.  

A local chief in Wajir County, Kenya, was abducted and beheaded by al-Shabaab militants. Omar Adan Buul, the head of the Gumarey sub-location in Wajir county, was kidnapped on 18 December by militants who also lectured the locals about supporting their cause.  His head was later found dumped on the side of the road. The rest of the body is yet to be found.  

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack through its news agency, Shahada. The statement said that the group took the chief prisoner while attacking a police outpost in the area.

Last month, an unnamed American CIA officer was killed during a raid on an al-Shabaab hideout in the southwest of Mogadishu. The operation took place in Gendershe, a coastal village about 30 miles southwest of Mogadishu, as Somali and US troops tried to apprehend a bomb maker, Abduallahi Osman Mohamed. Al-Shabaab fighters detonated a car bomb minutes after the raid began, killing the unidentified CIA officer.  A Somali intelligence official confirmed the raid, saying that the explosion killed the American and four other Somali officers.  Intelligence that three senior al Shabaab commanders would be in the coastal village guided the operation.  After a 40 minute firefight, US and Somali forces withdrew, making the raid a failure. 

Al-Shabaab confirmed the attack, claiming they had ambushed the US and Somali forces after learning about the raid in advance. “We received intelligence that they were coming. We were ready, and a fierce gun battle broke out. Several officers were killed, including the CIA officer,” Al-Shabaab commander in the Lower Shabelle, Abu Mohamed, told the Guardian newspaper.

The bomb maker, Abdullahi Osman, also known as Engineer Ismail, had been designated as a special designated global terrorist prior to the raid. He is believed to be responsible for many of the powerful devices that have killed hundreds. He is suspected to be among the masterminds of a series of attacks last year, including the Manda bay base attack in Kenya.

Suspected al-Shabaab militants attacked an ambulance as it made its way to Elwak Referral Hospital in northeastern Kenya. According to Mandera county police commander Rono Bunei, the woman and her husband were on their way to the hospital as she was in labour when the militants attacked the ambulance. He confirmed that the expectant mother was unharmed, but the nurse and driver were wounded. It is unclear how they were injured.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the car bomb that killed five people in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. The attack targeted Turkish engineers working on constructing a road between Mogadishu and Afgoye, northwest of the capital city.  Two of the deceased were Turkish, while the other three were Somalis. The international community and Somali government condemned the attack, highlighting the positive impact of Turkish assistance on Somalia.

Turkey has become a target for Al-Shabaab’s attacks over the past few years. Last year, the militants also targeted engineers working on constructing the road, wounding at least 15 people. In December 2019, the group took responsibility for a bombing that killed at least 90 people, making it one of the country’s most devastating attacks. Turkey has been investing in Somalia since 2011, through building schools, improving infrastructure, and providing scholarships to Somalis to study in Turkey. Militarily, Turkey has been training Somali troops.

A member of parliament from the Jubaland regional state was killed in an improvised explosive device attack claimed by Al-Shabaab. The MP, identified as Khalif Hashim Nur, was travelling when an IED fitted to his vehicle was detonated, killing him and his security team. 

Over the past months, Al-Shabaab has increased its attacks in the Galmudug regional state of Somalia. This week, the extremist group seized control of Imamad village. No casualties were reported by local media or Al-Shabaab media affiliates. The group tried to take over the village, but the villagers did not want to pay taxes to the insurgent group.  

The increase of attacks came as the Galmudug administration took power from the moderate Islamic Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a (ASWJ). ASWJ had been in power, but mid last year, all remnants of the group were removed from government. The group had been instrumental in lessening the influence of Al-Shabaab in the region. Al-Shabaab’s campaign in Galmudug state has been brutal, with the group firing mortars and killing civilians in villages that refuse to be part of the group or pay taxes. 

The Somali National Army (SNA) confirmed that they targeted al-Shabaab bases in Gedo region, Jubaland administration, Southern Somalia. According to the SNA commander in the area, eight militants were killed, including the operational commander in Bardhere town known as Zakarie Sheikh.

The President of South West State called for the federal government and international partners to assist the state in ending Al-Shabaab’s imposed blockade of Hudur. The extremist group has blocked, and on some occasions, destroyed vehicles carrying food and other supplies to the region. President Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed “Laftagareen” met with regional officials to discuss how to lessen the possible hardish brought by the blockade. The president believes the continued blockade will result in a severe food security crisis.

The regional president is also seeking a military solution to end the blockade. The regional president met with the Somali National Army commander to discuss how best to deal with the situation.  

The appeals from President “Laftagareen” resulted in a cargo aircraft carrying food supplies to land in Hudur, where the district commissioner led efforts for distribution. 

Kenyan police interrogated a suspected al-Shabaab member after being arrested in Mandera county, northeastern Kenya. The suspect, Ali Ibrahim Ibrahim, was arrested following a tip-off from the public. He is accused of partaking in a recent terror attack involving a motor vehicle within the Banisa region of Mandera county.

 The police welcomed the public decision to assist the police in capturing the suspect. They warned al-Shabaab sympathisers for not coming forward with information

AFRICOM conducted an airstrike in the vicinities of Jamaame and Deb Scinnele in Southern Somalia.  In a statement, AFRICOM leadership confirmed that the strikes “targeted known al-Shabaab leaders involved in IED facilitation, fighter training and attack planning.” At least three militants were killed in the airstrike. AFRICOM asserted that no civilians were killed or injured as a result of the airstrike

Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the landmine explosion in Mogadishu that killed four people. Abdi Rashid Dubad, the deputy commissioner for security and politics in Garasbaale, is among the deceased. Six others were injured in the explosion. 

Puntland Minister of Interior, Mohamed Abdirahman Dhabbanad, dismissed an unspecified number of military court officials working from the Galkayo office. The dismissed individuals are suspected to be Al-Shabaab sympathisers. The dismissal comes after the government has launched an official investigation on why a person accused of having ties to Al-Shabaab was released.   

Al-Shabaab stormed Hotel Afrik in Mogadishu, opening fire on staff and visitors inside. Before storming, the militants crashed a suspected suicide bomb loaded with explosives into the entrance of the hotel.  Government security forces secured the hotel floor by floor, killing the four attackers. According to AFP news agency, three were shot by security forces while one blew themselves up.  

Local reports say at least nine people were killed, including the four attackers, while ten other civilians were injured. According to Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, former military general Mohamed Nur Galal was among the dead. 

Hotel Afrik is a well-known hangout spot for government, police and military

officials, many of whom were among the rescue.

Al-Shabaab fighters attacked Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) bases in the vicinity of Qalimow in Middle Shabelle region in Somalia. The attack led to at least 18 people, including eight Somali government soldiers and eight al-Shabaab militants, and another 13 others wounded.

Al-Shabaab attempted to cause chaos during the long-awaited Dhusamareb meetings by firing at least 13 mortar rounds in the city of Dhusamareb.  Leaders were in town to iron out the electoral process, which brought the entire country to a standstill. 

The local and national army carried out joint operations to weed out remnants of al-Shabaab militants following the attack. At least eight militants were killed in the operation. The state TV noted that one insurgent was captured and weapons were seized.

The Somali army, supported by African Union troops, killed at least four militants during an operation in the Middle Shabelle region of Somalia. The joint operation, which took place in the vicinity of Qoor Deere town, also led to the capture of 21 militants. 

Somali military chief, General Odawa Yusuf Rageh, told the military-run radio service that 20 militants were killed during an operation near Qoryoley and Janaale towns.  Among the dead were senior commanders. The operations took place after receiving credible information that Al-Shabaab militants were spotted near the towns. 

A military court in Dhusamareb, Galmudug state, began the trial of three suspected al-Shabaab members. They had been arrested on charges of conducting mortar and bomb attacks in the state.  The three men were arrested on 4 February. 

Throughout the month, African Union Mission in Somalia and Somali troops have conducted operations targeting al Shabaab hideouts in Southern Somalia. Targeted villages include Mishaani and Doonka dafeedow, which AMISOM claims to be areas of planning attacks against AMISOM bases, as well as terrorising civilians travelling in the Lower Shabelle region. 

“These precise offensive operations in our area of responsibility, which we jointly conducted with the Somalia Security Forces, are part of a series of ongoing combat operations aimed at further degrading al-Shabaab capabilities,” William Nabasa, commander of Ugandan troops serving under AMISOM, said in a statement issued on Friday evening.

A suspected al-Shabaab member was arrested in Ankara in a joint operation by police and the National Intelligence Organisation (NIT). The suspect is believed to have operated in Kenya and have dual citizenship to Germany and Italy. His name was not given but was identified by his initials A.B.

Members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously approved sanctions for three Al-Shabaab leaders after the US and Somali governments forwarded them the designation. The three leaders are Abukar Ali Adan, the deputy leader of the group who has an association with Al-Qaeda affiliates including AQ in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and AQ in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Maalim Ayman, the founder of the unit Jaysh Ayman) conducting cross border attacks between Kenya and Somalia, and Mahad Karate, who has played a vital role in the development and operations of Amniyat, which is the intelligence wing of the group.

Al-Shabaab mounted an attack on a Somali military base in the Southwest state of Somalia. According to a regional district deputy commissioner, the army, backed by Ethiopian forces, part of the African Union Mission in Somalia, thwarted the attack. Nine al-Shabaab fighters were killed in the fighting. The district commissioner stated that they had “received intelligence about the imminent attack, and our forces managed to repulse the attack.” He added that more than 11 fighters, who were wounded, were apprehended and their weapons seized. 

Jamal Farah, a well-known journalist, was killed by al-Shabaab in the autonomous northern region of Puntland. Jamal Farah, an al-Shabaab critic, was shot by two unidentified men outside a shop he ran in the city of Galkayo. The journalist had previously received threats to the militants. 

The regional president, Said Abdullahi Deni, condemned the killings and directed security personnel to arrest the perpetrators.

Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab publicly executed five people accused of spying in their administrative capital of Jilib in Middle Juba in Southern Somalia. The civilians were accused of spying for the US and Somali agencies. Local reports that hundreds of people gathered to watch the execution. 

Middle Juba, which is part of the regional Jubaland administration, is completely controlled and governed by the militant group.

Al-Shabaab militants stormed a jail in northern Somalia to free some of its members.  According to a prison guard at the central prison at Bosaso, the biggest city in the northern state of Puntland, well-armed men attacked the prison from various directions. He added that the militants used explosives to force their way into the prison. Through their media wing, the militants claimed to have freed at least 400 prisoners, though they know to exaggerate the extent of their attacks. 

Police from the Puntland region state at least seven soldiers were killed during the attack. The guard confirmed that at least two soldiers were killed when the militants set fire to a vehicle they were driving. 

Following the attack, the Puntland military conducted operations in Bosaso in search of the escaped prisoners. Government officials stated that they had recaptured 87 prisoners who had escaped from the Bosaso prison. The government is yet to confirm the number of prisoners who escaped during the attack. Government officials also stated that they had killed 20 Al-Shabaab fighters.

Unidentified Somali security officials stated that they feared the new US airstrike guidance is benefiting al-Shabaab. From the end of Donald Trump’s presidency and the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidency, the US has changed its policy towards Somalia. Donald Trump ordered all 700 troops to vacate from Somalia and move to other bases in the region. Those troops were training Danab forces, the equivalent of Somali special forces, and other Somali troops, as well as conducting airstrikes against Al-Shabaab. Joe Biden announced that the administration must approve all airstrikes before they occur, a significant departure from Donald Trump’s presidency. The latest decision by the Biden administration resulted in a decrease in airstrikes in Somalia.

According to a Somali official, the lack of airstrikes “means al-Shabaab leaders will come out of hiding. They will bring their battlewagons out. They will mount big guns on top of vehicles again. They will start to gather in large numbers again.” According to the senior advisor to the former Prime Minister Hassan Khaire, Samira Gaid, the political and electoral impasse has meant that the “security forces are diverted to electoral security….this again is a boon to al-Shabaab.”

In two separate incidents, suspected al-Shabaab conducted two attacks in northeastern Kenya. In one incident, a water bowser fetching water hit an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by Al Shabaab militants in Lamu county, northeastern Kenya, at around 7:30 a.m. Regional police say that one person was killed while the other was injured.  

The second incident took place in Lafey, Madera county, where suspected al-Shabaab militants attacked a police camp armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPG).  The police swiftly responded and thwarted the attack. Police authorities said no injury was reported. 

This is the latest attack following a series of attacks on construction sites along the Somali-Kenyan border. Lamu county commissioner, Irungu Macharia, urged the residents of border villages to surrender any helpful information about the attacks. Al-Shabaab also attacked police camps in the Elram area of Elwak, right on the border with Somalia thirteen days earlier.

At least four people were killed after a bus hit an improvised explosive device (IED) planted probably by al-Shabaab militants in northeastern Kenya. Ten passengers were also injured, with four in critical condition.

In a video recording, the leader or Emir of Al-Shabaab, Ahmed Diriye, better known as Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, vowed to attack American and French interests in Djibouti.  The insurgent group accuses the Djiboutian president of turning the country “into a military base from where every war against the Muslims in East Africa is planned and executed.”

The threats come just two weeks before Djibouti’s presidential election, where Ismail Omar Guelleh runs for his fifth term. Djibouti is involved both politically and militarily in Somalia, as they provide troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia. Al-Shabaab has claimed attacks in Djibouti, mainly targeting soft targets like restaurants. Both the French, the former colonial power, and the US have large military bases in Djibouti. The US uses the bases to conduct airstrikes on Al-Shabaab targets in Somalia. 

Kenyan security agencies ask the public to catch a suspected Al-Shabaab pilot, who is possibly planning an attack.  Rashid Mwalimu has been identified as the possible suspect. He is believed to have studied aviation at the All Asia Aviation Academy in the Philippines. The suspect had previously been in police custody but escaped in 2019, possibly back to Somalia. His accomplice, Cholo Abi Abdullah, was captured and is facing six counts of terrorism-related offences, including conspiring to hijack an aircraft to conduct a 9/11 style of attack in the US. 

Security agencies claim that the suspect and Cholo previously partook in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in the Boni area of Lamu County between 2015 and 2016. It is also believed that the two al-Shabaab members were in contact with the leader of the Dusit attack in Nairobi, Kenya, Salim Gichunge, also known as Faruq. 

Kenyan police arrested three men suspected to be members of al Shabaab in Garissa county, northeastern Kenya. The three were transporting eight AK-47 rifles, 2 104 bullets and 20 litres of petrol. The suspects led the police on a four-hour case along the Baraki Maalmin road. Once captured and transferred to police custody, they found eight empty magazines. The suspects, Nur Ibrahim Alaso Hadadob, Jimale Abey Mahmad Griftu and Abdirizak Mohamed Ali Elwak, are of Somali origin and had Kenyan identification cards

Local media reports indicate that Al-Shabaab conducted complex attacks on two military bases in Barrire and Awdheegle, approximately 60 – 80 KM from the capital city of Mogadishu. The militants stormed the Barrire base after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated at the main gate at 4 a.m.  Other reports indicate that the militants also placed IEDs on the road, which slowed down the reinforcements from Mogadishu from reaching Barrire. Al-Shabaab detonated another VBIED in Lafole, targeting government forces as well. Finally, the militants fired mortars in Sabiid and Anole towns. 

Conflicting media reports say that at least one camp, possibly Barrire, was completely overrun by the militants while the other remains in the hands of the Somali National Army (SNA).  The media is reporting casualties though it is unclear.  

Al-Shabaab claims to have killed at least 47 soldiers at both camps while destroying three military vehicles and taking two others with them.  

The military nor the government is yet to comment on the incident. 

A minibus travelling to Jowhar hit a landmine, killing at least 15 civilians and wounding others. Days later, the death toll rose to 20. The spokesperson of the Somali government, Mohamed Moalimuu, tweeted, “A heinous incident, a minibus which left Mogadishu this morning to Jowhar with civilian passengers was blown up by Al-Shabaab btw Balad district & Qalimoow around 50 KM north to Mogadishu. 15 innocent people were killed. This act is an indication to how ruthless terrorists are.” No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Al-Shabaab is likely responsible. When attacks have high civilian casualties with no government or military casualties, the group does not take responsibility for such attacks.
A suicide bombing outside a police station in Mogadishu killed at least five police officers and wounding others. The spokesperson of the police force, Major Sadiq Ali, said that two police commanders, Major Ahmed Bashane of the Waberi district and Major Abdibasid Agey, the former commander of the Weliyow Adde police department, are among the dead. A civilian who lived near the police station was killed in the explosion.
Government officials in Gedo region announced the liberation of villages within Garbaharey. The officials stated that Dofaareey, Kooradheer, Booco, Qalwo, Bakaro and Fargeleey were now under the protection of regional government forces. The liberation of the villages in Garbaharey is an important victory for the Jubaland president, Ahmed Madobe since he would like the district to be one of the areas where the election process for the Somali election will take place. The regional president has much support in the area therefore, it was a priority for him to liberate areas in the district. It is important to note that Al-Shabaab’s stronghold is in Jubaland State, especially in Middle Juba region.
In line with the UN Security Council (UNSC), the African Union (AU) extended the mandate for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The Mandate has been extended until 31 December 2021. According to the recommendations from the UNSC, which guides the Somali Transition Plan (STP), AMISOM was supposed to have withdrawn a majority of its troops by 2021, as the Somali troops take over the security responsibilities. However, due to the security conditions and the electoral standoff, the implementation of the STP has been delayed, with many of the milestones not yet achieved.
Al-Shabaab released a propaganda video highlighting the work of foreign fighters in the group. The video showed a graduation ceremony for the foreign fighters.

US Command for Africa (AFRICOM) head, General Stephen Townsend, travelled to Kismayo to meet with Jubaland president Ahmed Madobe. The two leaders discussed collaboration on joint operations in the regional state, which remains the stronghold for the extremist group. The US maintained they would play a more active role “in defeating terrorists that pose a threat to the Somali people.”

Three suspected al-Shabaab militants were killed when the tuktuk they were travelling exploded while approaching a checkpoint near the Embassy hotel in Galkayo, Mudug region, Galmudug state. It is unclear whether the explosion resulted from a detonation of an explosive vest or the vehicle was rigged with an improvised explosive device (IED). 

Three people, including a local administrator, have been killed, and two others injured after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) hit a vehicle on Garasbaale road outside Mogadishu. According to witnesses, unknown persons had placed the IED by the road, which subsequently hit the vehicle carrying Abdirahman Ahmed Ali, the head of Garasbaale. Though no group has hitherto claimed responsibility for the attack, the attack has all the hallmarks of an Al-Shabaab attack.

Police arrested six elders for allegedly colluding with Al-Shabaab in the Buq Aqable area in the Hiiraan region, HirShabelle state. The elders are being questioned at the Beletweyne police station. 

Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced that the campaigning period for the regional parliamentary and local council elections would take place between 23-28 May. The chairperson of NEC, Abdirashid Mohmud Ali, urged all the political parties to refrain from any actions that are prohibited under the election regulations.

A military court in Mudug region in Galmudug state sentenced two men to life in prison for being members of Al-Shabaab and coordinating and leading terrorist acts, including murder. The two men, identified as Mohamed Hassan Abukar and Abdullahi Abdirahman Ahmed, were given 30 days to appeal the conviction.

Local authorities in the town of Baidoa, in South West State, have blamed al-Shabaab for the improvised explosive device (IED) attack that led to the deaths of 15 civilians in a Khat market. The group did not take responsibility for the attack. 

Later in the day, another explosion took place in Baidoa, with local reports indicating the explosion was caused by explosives stored in a house in town. The police did not provide information about the attack. 

Al-Shabaab took responsibility for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack near Afmadow district that resulted in the deaths of seven Jubaland security forces. The soldiers were en-route to escort a football team from a neighbouring town

Over the past two weeks, the Somali National Army (SNA) has been conducting military offensives to liberate towns and villages under the control of the extremist group Al-Shabaab. The offensive also aims to destroy weapons and ammunition bases in the region. The military stated that they had killed at least three dozen militants so far. They also claim that they have liberated the villages of Gal-labashiir, Wardhagah, War Issa, Gaal leef, Qoordheere, Jilable, Ali Fooldheere and Galka Xarareey.    

The governor of Gedo region claims that a Kenyan air force airstrike in El Adde town, Gedo region, killed at least two civilians and injured others, including six children.  The Governor alleged that this is not the first airstrike by KDF that has led to the deaths of the civilians and caused the destruction of livestock. 

The Somali government has condemned the attack. In a statement, the government alleged that the Kenyan airstrikes “kill and maim civilians in Somalia.” The statement further stated that “it is becoming increasingly obvious the provocative and indiscriminate manner the KDF conducts operations in Somalia…will not contribute to efforts towards stabilising and confronting extremism, but only further radicalise communities in support of extremist.”  They added that future airstrikes by AMISOM should be in coordination with the federal government. The government airlifted the injured children to Mogadishu to receive the necessary medical assistance. 

AMISOM released a statement indicating that they have launched an investigation to look into the allegations against the Kenyan contingent. 

The militant group al-Shabaab has claimed through its media affiliates to have recaptured three villages from the Somali military. The group claimed to be in control of Qordhere, War’ise and Wararahley, in Middle Shabelle. The group claims that they were able to recapture the villages without any restrictions from the villagers. 

Over the past month, Al-Shabaab has claimed to recapture several villages in Middle Shabelle. 

A mishandling of explosives by an alleged Al-Shabaab improvised explosive device (IED) expert resulted in the deaths of 61 militants and two civilians, a mother and a child, in Aalafutow village, Qoryoley district, Lower Shabelle region. In addition, local reports claim that two foreign fighters, Ahmed Sharif ‘Abu Bilal’ from Afghanistan, an IED expert, and the other only identified as Khalid, from Yemen, were killed. 

Al-Shabaab has abducted four youths from a village in the outskirts of Dinsoor district. The whereabouts of the youths are still unknown. The government forces allegedly control the village, therefore, it is concerned that the group could be able to abduct youths. 

Al-Shabaab has been abducting youths who are forced to go through the indoctrination program where they would later become foot soldiers for the group. 

  • Al-Shabaab attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) forward operating base (FOB) in Deynuunay, in Bay region. Local reports indicate that SNA soldiers partially withdrew from the FOB, which al-Shabaab took as a victory. SNA sent reinforcements from Baidoa to assist the troops at Deynuunay but were delayed because of al-Shabaab ambushing the convoy on three different occasions with roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Reports indicate that five soldiers were killed while another 15 others were injured. The reinforcements, which later also included AMISOM troops, finally arrived and were able to dislodge the militants. 

Jubaland State Forces (JSF) conducted a joint operation with Somali National Army (SNA) to flush out Al-Shabaab out of neighbourhoods west of Kismayo. The operations took place in Golashimbi, Berhani, Labikuus, Abdi Dhore and other areas in the Lower Juba region. JSF and SNA commanders claimed to have killed dozens of militants in the operation.   

Danab special forces also conducted operations that cleared several landmines and road improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by Al-Shabaab

A military court in Mogadishu sentenced several Somali businessmen to jail for allegedly providing material support to the insurgent group Al-Shabaab. Mohamed Osman Mohamed was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of being the “head of a network” that helps the militant group. Abdisalam Ali Farah, Khadar Abdisalam Mohamed, Dahir Osman Mohamed, Mohamed Abdi Sheikh Omar and Said Darogo were sentenced to eight years in jail. The seventh defendant was released after being cleared of all charges. 

The Somali national army (SNA) has begun operations to secure the main supply routes (MSR) connecting Hudur and Elberde district in Bakool region. Lt Gen Ali Ibrahim Isaak “Ali Xabbad”, the 9th Battalion of the 60th Division commander, leads the charge. 

Securing MSR connecting Hudur and Elberde district is an important military operation since the insurgent group Al-Shabaab has placed a blockade over Hudur for the last eight years. Unfortunately, the blockade has caused an unnecessary humanitarian crisis since the militants attack all humanitarian aid vehicles and planes. To make matters worse, the insurgent group forced hundreds of families to flee from the outskirts of Hudur. Therefore, securing the MSR connecting Hudur and Elberde would go a long way in helping the dire – Senator Hussein Sheikh Mohamud, Secretary of the Constitutional Commission of the two Houses of Parliament, has criticised the government and AMISOM for not doing anything over the last eight years to assist the residents of Hudur District. He noted that the blockade by the extremist group has led to devastating effects on the community since their sources of income due to trade has been severely affected.

The Supreme Court in Puntland state in Somalia sentenced 18 Al Shabaab members to death. The accused were found guilty of carrying out attacks in the state that resulted in the deaths of civilians in Galkaayo. An eighteen-year-old, identified as Abdirizak Ahmed Burale, was sentenced to life in prison.
Kenyan police confirmed that a terror suspect was arrested at a local trading centre in Garissa county, northeastern Kenya. The arrest was a result of the community alerting the police of the intentions of the young man. The arrest comes as Al-Shabaab increased the number of attacks in northeastern region of Kenya, targeting both military/police vehicles and public transport
In an operation in Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, the Somali National Army (SNA) claim to have killed six al-Shabaab militants. The operation took place between Awdheegle and Afgoye districts. The military has intensified its operations around the country to destroy al-Shabaab’s military capabilities. Operations in Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle has led to the liberation of some villages and towns from the extremist group. Though a positive step, the inability of the SNA to hold territory has allowed the militants to retake some of the villages.
At least 15 people were killed and 20 injured when an Al-Shabaab militant detonated his vest at a checkpoint at the General Dhagabadan army base in Mogadishu. The suicide bomber targeted potential military recruits who were in line for registration. According to the military chief, General Odawa, the militant detonated his vest in a line where the recruits were waiting as they were being searched before entering the military base. This is not the first time the militants have targeted military recruits. The group tends to target potential recruits in a bid to deter civilians from joining the military. Turkey and Qatar, two of Somalia’s main allies, condemned the attack and wished the survivors a quick recovery. The attack comes as the SNA has been conducting successful operations in Lower and Middle Shabelle, southern and central Somalia.
A sign of relief came when police officials from northeastern noted that fewer youth travelled to Somalia to join the extremist group Al Shabaab. The Lamu country commissioner’s office released a report citing the increased crackdown on militants in Boni region as one of the potential reasons for the decline in recruitment. Lamu County Commissioner, Irungu Macharia, said that the working relationship with the public has also strengthened the country’s efforts to stomp out terrorism. “We still plead with the public to be on the lookout for individuals who want to derail people’s minds using concocted religious messages and false promises,” he said.
Forces from the northern state of Puntland have destroyed an Al-Shabaab outpost in the mountainous al-Miskad area of Bari region, the group’s stronghold. Before destroying the camp, the forces recovered weapons, bomb-making supplies, military uniforms, and other equipment.
– The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) relocate its troops from Marianguwaay forward operation base (FOB) in Southern Somalia. At the handover ceremony, the Lower Shabelle Governor thanked AMISOM for securing the area, which has allowed businesses to thrive. AMISOM announced that the troops would be moved to other FOBs in Lower Shabelle region. After AMISOM troops vacated the FOB, Al-Shabaab took over the base. The Lower Shabelle governor said that the Somali National Army (SNA) were to relocate to the base and take over the operation but did not do so, allowing for the militants, Al-Shabaab, to take over the base with no opposition

In an operation in Middle Shabelle, the Somali National Army (SNA) destroyed an unspecified number of al-Shabaab bases. Somali military officials vowed that the troops will intensify operations against Al-Shabaab militants in southern and central regions to liberate more regions. Over the past two weeks, SNA has claimed to have killed at least 300 foot soldiers in operations in Middle Shabelle alone.

Al-Shabaab conducted a dawn attack on Wisil town, Mudug region, Galmudug state, attempting to take over a military base. The attack, which began at 4:30 am with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) targeting the gate to the camp, then another 100 militants stormed the base. The fighting lasted for few hours as the security forces repulsed the attack. At least 41 people were killed, including unspecified civilians and three soldiers. Seven other soldiers and an unspecified number of civilians who were injured were transported to Mogadishu for treatment. The day after the attack, Prime Minister Hussein Roble and Galmudug president QoorQoor visited the injured soldiers, boosting their morale. Al-Shabaab, through its social media affiliates, claimed to have killed 34 security forces.

The Somali government, followed by its international partners, condemned the Al-Shabaab attack on Wisil town. The deputy information minister said, “The government, while appreciating the people of Wisil for their strong resistance, has taken immediate steps to provide relief to civilians affected by the attack and explosives planted by the Al-Shabaab insurgents.” To ensure that Al-Shabaab does not attempt to retake the army base and town, SNA sent reinforcement to the Wisil area while operations in neighbouring areas commenced.

A suspected Al-Shabaab member was killed while police in Garissa county pursued militants attempting to cross the border. A donkey carrying 2 AK 47 riffles, bomb-making materials and nefarious materials were recovered by the police. It is unclear how many militants crossed the border from Somalia to Kenya with the gunned down suspected militant.

The successful operation against Al-Shabaab comes as the militants increased the number of attacks in North Eastern Kenya. Over the past week, the group had conducted at least five attacks targeting security agents and civilians alike.

Al-Shabaab reported that 16 people were executed for spying for the Somali military and their allied forces in areas they control in Somalia. In HirShabelle state, five people were executed in public in Bula Fulay area of Bay region, while in Jubaland state, six people were executed in Sakow, Middle Juba and another five were executed in Jilib, their administrative capital.

The executions of the 16 civilians come as the Puntland executed 21 al-Shabaab militants after being found guilty of conducting attacks in the state.

A delegation of AFRICOM officials travelled to Somalia as reports indicate the Biden administration is reviewing the decision to withdraw all troops from Somalia in January 2020. The officials, who travelled to Dolow town, Gedo region, Jubaland state, met with Somali national army officials and discussed operations against Al-Shabaab.

Before the withdrawal of US troops in 2020, AFRICOM provided air support to Somali forces, including the special forces Danab, during counterterrorism operations. AFRICOM also conducted airstrikes targeting Al-Shabaab leadership. Somali military officials argued that since the airstrikes reduced significantly, the militants have increased their attacks since they have more space to move without fear of airstrikes.

The extremist group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack outside a teashop in Mogadishu on Friday evening. A suicide bomber detonated his vest, killing at least ten people and injured dozens more in the devastating attack. Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed fifteen people and wounded 22 others. The teashop was targeted since it is frequented by intelligence and security forces.

The Somali government condemned the attack. In a statement, the government said that the Al-Shabaab only strives to cause pain, destruction and chaos. These ideals have no place in a free Somalia.” Prime Minister Roble called on the public to unite against Al-Shabaab

The Army chief, Brig Gen Odowa Yusuf Rage, announced that operations in Somalia led to the death of an Al-Shabaab top official. The al-Shabaab official, Mohamed Abdi Sabriye “Tosow”, was killed in an operation in Durulsalaam, Adan Yabal district, Middle Shabelle region, north of Mogadishu.

A Puntland military court sentenced eight al-Shabaab militants to death. The accused were found guilty of belonging to the extremist group and carrying out assassination and bombings in Galkayo and Mudug regions.

Following the announcement, a few sceptics took to the media to claim that the execution of the eight individuals is not related to terror activities but rather related to clan disputes. They claimed that all the accused belonged to a minatory clan that the government has recently been targeted. The Puntland government rubbished the claims.

A top Somali police chief has survived an assassination bid by Al-Shabab fighters in a powerful car bomb blast in Mogadishu that left ten people dead and a trail of destruction. Using an explosives-laden vehicle, the bomber struck regional police commissioner Farhan Mohamud’s motorcade at a busy intersection in the capital, Somali police spokesman Sadiq Dudishe told the AFP news agency on Saturday. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, in which the objective was to kill the police commissioner and cause a large amount of destruction.

The Somali army announced that a senior Al-Shabaab leader was killed in operations in central Somalia. The leader, identified as Nuh Dhagool, was in charge of collecting Zakat or taxes from the populace in Middle Shabelle region, HirShabelle state. The Somali National Army has conducted a two-month operation in the Middle Shabelle region, removing remnants of Al-Shabaab hideouts and bases in the area. The military says that the operations have led to the liberation of villages and towns and the killing of at least 200 militants.
Security forces from Somalia’s northern region, Puntland Security Forces (PSF), conducted operations against Islamic State in Somalia and Al-Shabaab. Puntland’s security minister, Abdisamad Galan, announced that the operations in Bari region, which is the home base for both extremist groups, led to the deaths of militants, including foreign fighters. He added that the operation was undertaken by a multi-agency joint task force dubbed Nadiifinta Aagga Bosaso – NAB (Operation Combing Bossaso Area).
The US military conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab in Somalia following a five-month lull. The airstrike targeted Al-Shabaab hideouts in Galkayo, Galmudug state. This is the first airstrike in Somalia under the Biden administration. Under President Trump’s administration, AFRICOM increased the number of airstrikes from 11 in 2015 to 64 in 2019 to 54 in 2020. However, more evidence came to light during the time period that the airstrikes led to civilian casualties despite the institution claiming none.
In an audio message, Al-Shabaab issued threats to aspirants in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The audio message, purportedly recorded by the group leader, Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, warned delegates who will partake in the election, saying that they should not make the same mistakes as their predecessors who believed that the elections are secret. The leader of al-Shabaab is alluding to local rumour mill allegations that those delegates who did not vote in Al-Shabaab’s favour were killed.
– Voice of America (VOA) broadcaster reported rising tensions between the Somali army chief and the African Union troops. VOA, the largest and oldest US government-funded international broadcaster, reported the Somali army chief, General Odowaa Yusuf Rageh, wrote a letter of complaint to the head of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Amb Francisco Madeira, over an argument with the AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya. The article alleges the army chief complained that FC Ndegeya, who hails from Burundi, is covering for the incompetence of the Burundian AMISOM troops. The article further states that the Burundian troops are not participating in the recent military operations in Middle Shabelle.
The Somali military announced that a senior Al-Shabaab leader has defected to Somali troops stationed in Galmudug State in Somalia. The leader, identified as Dalabey Abdi Moalim, who was in charge of collecting taxes, handed himself to troops stationed in Ba’adweyne town in Mudug region, Galmudug state. The defection comes as the Somali military claims successes against the extremist group Al-Shabaab in Mudug region. Over the past two months, the army claims to have killed at least 300 Al-Shabaab foot soldiers and some high-level officials. The operations also have led to the liberation of villages and towns in the area.
The US conducted another airstrike targeting Al-Shabaab in Galmudug state in Somalia. In a statement, AFRICOM announced an airstrike that took place in Qaycad village, located between Wisil and Ba’adweyne towns, Mudug region. The village was targeted for the second time in a week as the Somali troops advance to liberate more towns in the area from Al-Shabaab.
The Somali National Army (SNA) announced the arrest of two suspected Al-Shabaab leaders during an operation in Southern Somalia. The militant, identified as Ali Mohamed Adan, was in charge of operations in Lower Shabelle region, was arrested in Janaale town, which was liberated last year. The SNA operations in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle and Mudug regions have led to military success as the troops have liberated towns and villages from Al-Shabaab and killed hundreds of militants.
Somali army announced that another Al-Shabaab operative has surrendered to troops in Southern Somalia. The operative, identified as Abdirizak Abdullahi Mohamed, surrendered to troops in Garbaharey, Gedo region, Jubaland state. According to officials, Abdirizak Mohamed has been fighting alongside Al-Shabaab for the last six years and was in charge of assassination in the town. While the military paraded him in front of the media, the Al-Shabaab operative said he voluntarily defected to the military. He confirmed to the media that he had taken part in operations in Gedo o and Bay regions.
Ethiopian authorities announced they had foiled plans by Al-Shabaab. Two Al-Shabaab operatives crossed from Somalia to the Somali region of Ethiopia. One of the suspects was killed in a shootout with the police, while the other was apprehended. Al-Shabaab has struggled to infiltrate Ethiopia since its inception. They have attempted to shape its narrative to fit Ethiopian politics with videos in a number of Ethiopian languages but with minimal success. Nevertheless, the group strives to have many recruits as they do from Kenya.
A bomb placed underneath a vehicle belonging to a regional football team in Jubaland state kills four players. Mohamed Guled Hassan, deputy commander of Jubaland regional police forces, told the media that the bomb was detonated while the youth travelled to a local tournament in Kismayo. Six football players are in the hospital receiving treatment. Though no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the deputy commander is assertive that the militant group, Al-Shabaab, is responsible for the attack. President Farmaajo took to Twitter to condemn the attack, saying, “This heinous attack against young, innocent players is another evidence of the terrorists’ enmity against the lives of Somali youth.” Prime Minister Roble said, “I send my condolences to the families of the victims, the administration and the people of Jubaland. Terrorist acts must not prevent us from achieving our goal of peace and state-building.”
The Commander of the American Command in Africa (AFRICOM), Gen Stephen J Townsend, visited the Somali special forces, dubbed Danab, base in Baledogle in Somalia. Media reports say the US general, accompanied by other senior AFRICOM commanders, met with the Commander of the 4th Brigade of the 16th Battalion of the Danab forces. The meeting with Danab forces, who are trained by the US, comes as the US resumed its airstrikes in Somalia.
The Somali national army announced that they had liberated villages during operations in Galmudug state in Somalia. Villages in Qaycad area in Mudug region were liberated in the operations. Qaycad is the location of the last two airstrikes by AFRICOM. The operation recovered large weapon and ammunition caches. Later, Camara village was liberated by Galmudug forces
Two separate incidents over the weekend in northeastern Kenya by suspected Al-Shabaab suspects kill three. The first attack, on Saturday, was an attack on a saloon car travelling from Fino to Madera town in the Kamor Bahaw area. The police say that the car was transporting a sick woman to the hospital who was killed when the militants sprayed the car with bullets. The militants also attacked another vehicle in the same area, killing another person. It’s unclear if the third individual who was killed died on the spot or at the hospital due to the injuries.
The latest joint operations in Galmudug state have resulted in an increase in arrests of Al-Shabab leaders. A militia allied to the former Mogadishu police chief, Sadaq John, who is helping in the current operation in the regional state, apprehended Jiril Saed Ali, who is allegedly responsible for foreign abductions carried out by Al-Shabaab. The military officials claim that Saed played a critical role in kidnapping two German and French women in 2018 and 2011, respectively.
An operation by Somali National Army (SNA) and South West State regional forces results in the deaths of at least 13 Al-Shabaab militants. The District Commissioner of Wajid District, where the operation took place, Mohamed Moalim Yusuf, said the operations aimed to remove Al-Shabaab from the area who have been terrorising the villagers.
– Security agents in Madera county, northeastern Kenya, foiled a terror attack. In the pursuit, one suspected terrorist was killed. The police recovered 432 rounds of ammunition, 2 AK47s, 2 Mark 4 rifles from the deceased. His accomplice escaped on foot during the pursuit. The regional police chief thanked the public for informing the police of the suspects.
A passenger vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) in Mudug region, Galmudug state, killing eight civilians, including two children. Mudug Governor, Abdirahman Ali Diriye, told the media that the IED was planted by militant group Al-Shabaab, who are yet to take responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabaab does not usually take responsibility for high causality attacks without any government or military officials targets present.
The Somali National Army (SNA) apprehended three Al-Shabaab operatives in southern and central Somalia. During an operation near the seaport city of Marka in Lower Shabelle, Hussein Osman Mohamed, who attempted to escape, along with his bodyguards, were arrested. In central Somalia, in Bay region, two senior Al-Shabaab militants, Idris Abdullahi Moalim and Asad Sharif Abukar were apprehended. Moalim, who had been with the militants for seven years, was in charge of operations in Baidoa. Abukar, also known as Ayman, handed himself to Somali troops in Awdheegle town in Lower Shabelle.
The Somali military, backed by Jubaland regional forces, launched an operation in the outskirts of Kismayo, killing at least ten militants. Through the military radio, four extremists’ hideouts were destroyed in the operation in Berhani, Dharkay, Yaq-anole and Sariraha villages. Six landmines were also denoted.
On 10 August, AMISOM troops killed seven civilians after Al-Shabaab ambushed the troops in Lower Shabelle. Initially, the Ugandan troops part of AMISOM claimed to have killed al-Shabaab militants but was later discovered to be well-known farmers in Golweyn area. Mogadishu Governor Omar Mohamud “Filish” and Lower Shabelle Abdikadir Mohamed Nur ‘Sidi’ met with the AMISOM officials, including AMISOM Force Commander Diomede Ndegeya. The two officials stressed that those responsible should be punished and the families compensated.

Al-Shabaab militants staged an ambush on Galmudug regional Darwish forces in the Mudug region. Locals have confirmed that the attack killed at least ten soldiers, including two senior commanders. Major Mohamed Ali Salad, who led the operations, and Col Ali Dini Awale, who led the Somali police in Galmudug, have been confirmed dead. Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 30 troops and captured a naval commander, Hirsi Ali Shire, alive.

A delegation from AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) arrived in Mogadishu for a two-day meeting focused on Somalia’s security situation and the future of AMISOM. The Somali defence minister, Hassan Hussein Haji, briefed the AU officials from Addis Ababa on the current operations against AS in Mudug and Middle Shabelle region.

In a dawn attack, Al-Shabaab militants attempted to take over Amara forward operating base (FOB) that houses the Somali National Army (SNA) following the liberation of the town. The dawn attack started with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) which killed two civilians and three soldiers. A fourth soldier succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Following the VBIED, the Al Shabaab militants stormed the base.  Since the capture of Amara town from Al-Shabaab at the beginning of the month, the group has been hell-bent on retaking the town. The town is close to another stronghold, Harardheere.

As Al-Shabaab attempted to overrun the base, AFRICOM conducted an airstrike to support the Somali troops. According to Somali officials, the airstrike killed at least 90 militants. However, the AFRICOM statement did not specify the number of deaths, a feature that is usually included in all AFRICOM statements on airstrikes.

The Federal Government of Somalia has finally broken their silence on the disappearance of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Ikran Tahliil Farah. In a statement, the government claimed that the extremist group, Al Shabaab, is responsible for the disappearance and killing of the 24-year-old NISA agent. However, the government did not provide any proof for the allegation.  The government concluded its statement that they were in pursuit of her killers.

Al-Shabaab was quick to deny the claims that they were responsible for the disappearance. The group acknowledged that they had targeted NISA agents previously, but they were not responsible for her disappearance. The group further stated that they usually acknowledge their targeting of NISA and other government officials through its media affiliates.

 The mother of Ikran spoke to the media and said that she does not believe the government’s claim that Al Shabaab is behind her daughter’s disappearance.

The disappearance of Ikran on 26 June has become a contentious issue in Somali politics. She is believed to be the whistle-blower who informed the public that the Somali government had secretly sent young military cadets to Eritrea with the intent to fight in Tigray. The UNHRC report earlier in the year validated the rumours, saying that at least 300 Somali troops have been spotted near Axum. The federal government was quick to dismiss the report by the UN agency. Unfortunately, the disappearance of Ikran has become very politicised, with opponents of outgoing President Farmaajo using the story to remain relevant during the election period.

A suicide bomber denoted his vest at a crowded tea shop in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district, killing ten people instantly.  Some of the dead, including soldiers frequenting the establishment as the tea shop was near the gen Dhagabadan military training facilities. One of the injured later succumbed to his injuries, raising the death toll to 11.   

Somalia’s international community condemned the Al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu. “We are saddened to receive the news that at least ten people lost their lives, and many were injured in a bomb blast which took place on 14 September in Wadajir district in Mogadishu, Somalia. “We strongly condemn this heinous terrorist attack and extend our condolences to the friendly and brotherly people and Government of Somalia. We wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to the injured. Turkey will continue to stand by Somalia in its fight against terrorism.” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Ahmad Mustakim Abdul Hamid, a Malaysian national and Darren Antony Byrnes, a British national, were found guilty by a Somali national court for being members of Al-Shabaab. The two nationals were also found guilty of assisting Al-Shabaab with their technical capabilities. The two nationals were sentenced to 15 years in jail for their crimes. The two foreigners maintained their innocence, claiming that they had been in Somalia visiting friends and family. The accused’s lawyer protested the evidence provided by the prosecution since it was statements by individuals who testified in absentia and could not be cross-examined.

According to the Malaysian Embassy in Sudan, both nationals were arrested in 2019 and has been in jail since his arrest awaiting his trial. He added that Ahmed and Darren entered Somalia in 2009, through Yemen, and 2010, through Kenya, respectively, to join Al-Shabaab. During the court proceedings, Darran was accused of working with Bilal al Berjawi, a known al-Shabaab and al-Qaida operative known to recruit British nationals to join Al-Shabaab but was killed in an airstrike in 2012.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb at a crowded checkpoint near the presidential palace killing nine people. Before the death tally rose, a police officer told the media that seven people, including soldiers, were killed in the attack and another ten were wounded. Among the dead was a Gender officer at the Office of the Prime Minister, Hibaaq Abukar. The powerful bomb destroyed property and buildings near the checkpoint.

Somali leaders and the international community widely condemned the attack. “This terrorist attack on the Somali people today shows their ugly intentions and their opposition to the lives and stability of the Somali people,” said President Farmaajo. “We must work together to fight this horrific terrorism that continues to massacre our people”, said Prime Minister Roble.

This attack comes less than a day after a lone suicide bomber detonated his vest outside a compound housing government officials near Medina Hospital and Villa Baidoa. Luckily, the bomber was the only casualty.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) reported that 15 Al-Shabaab militants were killed when their vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by them near Lamu, on Kenya’s coast. However, the attack did not cause any casualties on the KDF side, the KDF spokesperson, Esther Wanjiku, said.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the home of a police commander in northern Somalia. The gunmen stormed the residence of Commander Mohamed Aden Jama in Garowe. In the middle of the night, residents in the town heard heavy gunfire who fired towards the security, protecting the police commander. The Nugal Regional Police Commander has not yet spoken about the incident.
The Somali Special Forces, dabbed Danab, launched major military offensives, liberating several villages in the Lower Shabelle region. The troops took control of Kaaytooy, Mushani, Xerta Doonka, Waagade and Kabta villages near Janaale town. The Danab forces killed at least seven Al-Shabaab militants during the operation. Janale district commissioner Abdirahman Abdinur Al-Adala thanked the Somali special forces for securing the villages from Al-Shabaab. He urged youths engaged with the militant group to surrender to the troops.
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