The world was hoping that the Covid-19 pandemic would suppress the Al-Shabaab activities in Somalia and Kenya but these terrorists have made it their aim to prove us wrong.
The Islamic Militia group has actively conducted several attacks this year and in the past one week, at least 16 attacks have been recorded in Somalia and Garissa County killing innocent residents and destroying infrastructure. They have sustained insurgency in Lower Shabelle, Bay, Hiran and capital Mogadishu with more than half of these attacks targeted against Somali and AMISOM troops.
Al-Shabaab’s aim to demonstrate their power and capabilities has seen rampant cases of explosions and assassination attempts on federal government soldiers and other government officials.
Farah Omar, a Somali Government intelligence officer, was shot dead on July 17th, in Bula Burde town while the Deputy of Somali Security Minister, Abdinasir Said Muse, survived an assassination attempt after massive roadside bomb targeted his vehicle on July 18th. The explosion killed one of his bodyguards and three other people.
A report on Counter Terrorism noted that attacks on high ranking officials in Somalia are rising steadily which could be as a result of security gaps caused by the coronavirus pandemic to invigorate its rural influence in Somalia and Kenya.
They have managed to dominate most areas in Somalia with their preferred weapon which is use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). A few days ago, an Al-Shabaab suicide bomber targeted the convoy of Somalia Chief of Defense Forces, General Odawa Yusuf Rage, near Mogadishu’s Tarabunka junction which has become a hot spot for these attacks.
Al-Shabaab continue to exploit the advantage of thicket vegetation and geography of these regions to launch guerilla ambush and IEDs along the major routes used by both local and foreign troops. The militia group continues to target critical infrastructures, especially telecommunication masts, in a move that is geared towards paralyzing communication within the region, hence giving them ample time to accomplish their attack missions.
Somalia and the Horn of Africa region in general cannot relish peace or security until the day the Al-shabaab militia will be suppressed. The numbers of those infected with Covid-19 keep rising due to the militants’ insurgencies. They have refused to embrace UN-Secretary General’s appeal for a global ceasefire and instead blame the foreign troops for importing the disease further hindering humanitarian action and containment of the corona virus. This deliberately disrupted aid delivery and in turn, the Islamist Al-Shabaab capitalized on anti-government resentment to boost on its recruitment and win legitimacy.
Local and foreign military assets are working on joint counterterrorism operations to continue mounting pressure on the Al-Shabaab. These operations by local and foreign military assets also continue to mount pressure on Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab in both central and southern Somalia.
Soldiers and officials are on high alert after the most recent Rural Border Patrol Unit(RBPU) attack in YUMBIS, Garissa which saw the death of three officers and several injured. The only way to defeat these militia is by our security officers becoming more vigilant in order to thwart future attacks on civilians and government officials.