17 August 2020 – Mogadishu Somalia
Al Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia increased their attacks in Somalia generally and the capital Mogadishu particularly targeting civilian populated areas and Government personel including members of Security forces and other staffers. Historically, for the past 7 years Al Shabaab always intensity their targeting attacks when the time is right for them sending direct signals to Somali partners to show their presence and capabilities, and their affiliates (Al-Qaida) to gain praise and support for their operations.
The group which gained adaption and resilience of the air and ground offences and developed strategy of if FGS/FMS and international partners divided politically to take advantage and attack vulnerabilities and to resist, stay out of reach and focus on hide outs when forces united to defeat them. This strategy is the one used by Al-qaida and Taliban of Afghanistan to sustain their ground almost two decades.
For the past two weeks Al Shabaab carried out 33 attacks in Somalia 10 of them occurred in the Banaadir region (Mogadishu) causing loses of lives and destructions. Four of these attacks in Mogadishu reportedly killed morethan 50 people including civilians and Government soldiers, these spectacular attacks translated in to the political crisis related to the Dusamareb 2 leaders meeting and followed striping PM Kheyre from the office.
Since 2017, the Banaadir region where under Government’s heavy lockdown on tactical road block system which the created outrageous complain from civilians and activists in the city, even from some government officials who struggled to maintain their routine travel between their residents and work places.
Tsince the beginning of August Mogadishu suffered from heavy consecutive attacks by Al Shabaab notably, the Lul-Yamani Restaurant, Bar Ayan military base, Mogadishu Central prison, night raid of 10 district HQs with hand grenades, and Hotel Elite complex attack were very clear message to the Government and its allies that the group are not weak any more and the period of COVID-19 were invested well by the terrorist organization. Al Shabaab used Different tactics in their attacks in Mogadishu which awakes the attention of Security and Counterterrorism analysts, the Luul Yemeni restaurant attack on August 3rd 2020 the group used a suicide-bomber to pass the gate of the restaurant though it was foiled by the guards who checked the suspect before he blew them up.
Mogadishu Elite Hotel
The second attack in Mogadishu occurred in BAR-AYAN Military base, Al Shabaab used a heavy VBIED were the top military personal in 12 April brigade of SNA planning for a day meeting, however, the attack occurred earlier than expected according security sources. That attack were well noted as a sign of Al Shabaab comeback as the capital didn’t see such a attacks for sometime in 16 months except one light VBIED targeted the taxation office near the Mogadishu Seaport earlier.
The Luxury Elite Hotel a well populated Liido Beach area were a shock for all, not only the threat Analysts who were expecting anything and anytime as they are well ahead from others, however, no one expected to see complex attacks returned on such scale, all the road leading to Liido where closed with the Security Checkpoints, advanced CCTV cameras directed by the Intelligence planted and only Government ID Card holders were allowed to cross in to Liido. as very Important sites located in Liido area including Turkish and UAE embassies, Government top officials among Ministers and Security Commanders reside the area, so the complicated question is how such VBIED smuggled with 5 attackers inside heavy security closed area?
2019 and first half of 2020 was not good time for Al Shabaab as they struggled to defend their controlled areas from AU-Government forces leaving behind handful territory they controlled many years with iron hand. U.S air campaign against Al Shabaab in 2019 ended with record of 63 air strikes, which means the highest air campaign in Somalia in the past, forcing the group’s top leadership to flee from the public sites and take long period of hiding. Disagreements and power struggle between the top leaders of the group also resulted dimming of groups operations in Mogadishu and other main cities of the Somalia.
This time, with FGS-FMS leaders in Galmudug capital Dhusamareb talks over the country’s future elections, no sign that current Government and its members are seeking genuine and bold steps to end the Political and constitutional crisis to take the country forward by holding On-time elections, agreeable by all stakeholders and allows maximum participation which is the only safe path for the country and its future. Constant attacks from Al Shabaab will only deteriorate already complicated Security and Political situations and it might lead to the country for unpredictable path.
Somalia’s International Partners including UN, EU, US, IGAD, AU, AMISOM and other partners insisted that all parties should participate Dhusamareb dialogue to agree on Electoral model for 2020/2021 elections which current legislation and Federal government should vacate the offices if not reelected, worries have gone high after PM Kheyr’s cabinet were dismissed by the parliament which is seeking term extension, all partners made their clear call on “ NO TERM EXTENSION”