Jan 20, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Terror groups in Somalia scale up attacks, keep neighbouring states on edge

Terrorist groups from Shards continue to pose a significant terrorist threat in the region, despite joint efforts by various partners to combat the group.

From al Shabaab to the Islamic State and the Allied Democratic Forces, all have Countries in the region this year carried the brunt of the terrorist organizations, which managed to start attacks and kill numerous civilians.

Terrorist groups in Somalia often carry out attacks aimed at overthrowing the government. Kenya has not been spared as its shared border with Somalia allows militants and their local sympathizers a field day and attacks at will.

According to the Strategic Intelligence Service, there have been more than 100 attacks in Somalia by al- Shabaab in 2021, with Kenya witnessing 23 attacks on the Wajir, Mandera and Lamu border districts.

In one major case on June 15, 10 people were killed and 20 wounded together at a Somali army training camp led by Turkish and local armed forces.

The deadliest event of the year occurred on June 26, when an estimated 30 people died in a city in the semi-autonomous state of Galmudug. The insurgents used car bombs in an attack on a military base in the city of Wisil, central Somalia, sparking a fight with government troops and armed locals.

Fighters linked to the militants stormed a military facility in August and captured the city of Amara in central Somalia. The city was liberated from al-Shabaab by the Somali army earlier this month.

These frequent clashes show that, despite years of multilateral efforts to demote al-Shabaab, al-Shabaab is still capable of sustained uprisings in the country and to lead the group’s military capabilities in neighboring countries.

For Somalia, the political conditions in the country have not made the situation any easier.

Taking advantage of dissatisfaction

The term of office President Mohamed Farmaajo’s mandate expired on February 8, 2021, while Parliament’s mandate ended on December 27, 2020. Parliamentary and presidential elections were postponed due to disagreements between the federal government and its member states.

In April, however, the Somali parliament voted to extend President Mohamed Farmaajo’s mandate for a further two years, resulting in internal opposition and disapproval of the international community. It also split Somalia’s national army and police along clan lines, sparking firefights on the streets of Mogadishu.

Due to internal and external pressure, Farmaajor lifted the extension and ordered its prime minister to meet with state leaders To set up a new roadmap for the elections.

This move could have posed a serious threat to al Shabaab and an additional opportunity to exploit dissatisfaction with the Somali federal government.

Reduce the US security presence in Somalia, al-Shabaab may also have provided additional operating space. In December 2020, the Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw “the majority” of US military personnel and equipment from Somalia, but left open the possibility that armed forces would conduct cross-border operations. USAFRICOM completed this process in January 2021.

Notably, the Biden government did not approve any air strikes from January to July 2021, leading to speculation that this pause is representative of a changing US stance on counter-terrorism in Somalia This hiatus ended on July 20 when USAFRICOM launched an air strike against al-Shabaab targets near Galkayo.

Weapon of choice

After a six-month hiatus under the von Biden government, the resumption of US air strikes in Somalia in July 2021 is once again the focus of al-Shabaab. The group affiliated with al-Qaeda aims to overthrow the government and enforce its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. The terror group carried out bomb attacks, suicide attacks and armed attacks, in particular against targets of the Somali government, private civilians, Christians, diplomats, foreign troops, NGOs or employees of aid organizations and neighboring countries.

Al-Shabaab has attacks in Central – and southern Somalia expanded, while the lower Shabelle regions of Somalia saw the most attacks.

Analysis of the group’s attacks shows that landmines and road bombs (IEDs) are preferred. And due to the poor road conditions in Somalia, Al-Shabaab has taken advantage of planting street bombs and landmines.

For Kenya, Mandera and Wajir bear the brunt of the Islamist al-Shabaab’s vice in the year, data from several security agencies show .

The militants targeted communication masts, police depots, public vehicles and construction sites.

On January 20, al-Shabaab militants attacked and destroyed a communication mast in Sarman, Mandera County . No one was injured.

In August, an armed man killed three police officers and a private security guard in a rampage in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam on August 25 before he was shot dead in a guard house at the gate of the French embassy .

In September the group carried out two attacks in Mahurunga, Tanzania, in which civilians were killed.

Uganda also has the terrorist burden of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo-based group affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. ADF is increasingly launching attacks on behalf of ISIS after pledging its allegiance to ISIS in 2019.

In November, suicide bombers targeted the Ugandan capital, Kampala, killing at least four people and injuring more than 30 others . In October, a 20-year-old woman was killed after an explosive device left in a shopping bag detonated in a restaurant in Kampala. Days later, several people were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus near Kampala.