Somalia: Al-Shabab Attack Kills at Least Seven

On Friday, al-Shabab fighters killed at least seven soldiers in an attack on an army base located in the village of Hilowle Gaab, located in the Middle Shabelle region. The area had been recaptured from al-Shabab last week.

Somalia: Al-Shabab Attack Kills at Least Seven
Image credit: Al Jazeera

Facts

  • On Friday, al-Shabab fighters killed at least seven soldiers in an attack on an army base located in the village of Hilowle Gaab, located in the Middle Shabelle region. The area had been recaptured from al-Shabab last week.
  • Al-Shabbab reportedly initiated the attack with car bombs during morning prayer, which led to a gunfight. Soldiers and militiamen were able to repel the rebels, however, they suffered multiple casualties.
  • al-Shabab, which has waged war against the Somali government since 2007, released a statement claiming responsibility for the attacks and added that it had recaptured the village and seized military vehicles and weapons, but residents and local politicians dispute the claim.
  • This comes just days after the al-Qaeda affiliate killed at least 35 people and wounded 40 more in a car bombing in the town of Mahas. The group was pushed out of the Hiraan region, where Mahas is located, last year.
  • In Aug. 2022, Somali Pres. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced that his government would launch a "total war" against al-Shabab.
  • Meanwhile, the US, which is supporting the Somali government’s efforts against the Islamist militant group, is also offering $10M to find the al-Shabab leader who orchestrated a 2020 attack in Kenya that killed three Americans.

Sources: VOA, Al Jazeera, Reuters, and Defense Post.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by VOA. The Somali government under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed has done a formidable job in its efforts to defeat al-Shabab and liberate Somalis from oppression. Since engaging in concerted efforts, with the support of the US, to retake territories from the militant group, the Somali military has seized nearly 70 localities and is continuing to win on behalf of the Somali people.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Som Tribune. Somalia is still a nation in crisis and Pres. Hassan Sheikh Mohamed has not provided stability or a strong alternative to al-Shabab. Though small victories like this are lauded by western and African politicians alike, Mohamed's recent strategy of calling for localities to arm themselves in the fight will only repeat the failed policies of the 1980s and 90s. Even if al-Shabab vanishes, new factions will emerge and keep the country in a state of chaos until a national civic pact is implemented.