In a span of one month alone, Al-Shabaab seems to have intensified well-coordinated attacks inside Somalia. We may likely witness a surge in a number of attacks since the group believes in more blessings during Ramadan as it’s a blessed month and they believe they are fighting for God’s cause.
Last Saturday, a Jubaland intelligence officer identified as Hamdi Mohamad was killed after a bomb fitted into his car exploded in Kismayo. This was the 4th bomb attack in Somalia in a single day.
Other victims include two Bay region governor Ali Wardhere Dooyow bodyguards killed in a suicide bomb targeting the governor who escaped unhurt.
On Sunday 11th April, Somali National Army (SNA) Colonel from the 27th Division confirmed they have detonated at least Five IEDs planted by Al-Shabaab in the road between Balad district and Qalimow village in Somalia‘s Middle Shabelle region. These IEDs were most probably targeting convoys during the Ramadan period.
Based on this and other recently observed movements by the militants, there is need for AMISOM, and both Somalia and Kenya security forces to be vigilant during this year’s Ramadan.
In Somalia, key government institutions, such as Villa Somalia, the Parliament building and the Ministry of Defense as well as prominent civilian structures – such as hotels and restaurants – have in the past been targeted most frequently, while the heavily-fortified Mogadishu International Airport (MIA) complex also remains a potential high-value target.
The capital Mogadishu has been hosting a heightened political meeting to resolve the election stalemate. Al-Shabaab militants may take advantage of this dynamic to increase their high-impact attacks (VBIEDs, complex attacks) in the capital. The Somali security forces have a huge task to heighten security as Somalis observe Ramadan.
AMISOM’s bases should also be on high alert since they have been successfully targeted by the militants on several occasions in the past, using a combination of VBIEDs and a coordinated ground assault like the recent attacks against Burundi and Uganda troops.
Kenya has an ongoing curfew and lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid. This is likely going to limit Al-Shabaab activities in the country, however, the National Police Service should not take chance but instead, beef up security to secure mosques for Muslim Faithfuls to conduct their prayers peacefully, especially the Tareweh and Fajir prayers, and to avert possible Al-Shabaab attacks.