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Al-Shabaab (Al-Shabab) - 2014

Somalia Political Conditions Map - January 2014 By early 2014 al-Shabab appeared to have realized it can not effectively fight AU and Somali government troops in a conventional war, so the group was avoiding direct clashes. The militants suffered significant losses in 2010 and 2011 during attempts to hold Mogadishu, and had since taken heavy casualties in other battles. They are blockading the towns they have lost. An inability to secure logistical lines for the military contingent or for the people and administration to move from one city to the other is the weak point. Experts said al-Shababs ultimate goal is to stretch AMISOM and government forces, wear them down, and then be able to regroup.

The group's leaders are paranoid when it comes the possibility of spies passing information about the group's plans to US agents, who can then launch drone attacks against al-Shabab targets. That weakened the ability of Shabab to mix with the population and trust people enough to rebuild its recruitment facilities in a short-term basis.

Al-Shabaab was increasingly engaging in asymmetric warfare as a result of the military campaign conducted by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army. Al-Shabaab is demonstrating an improved ability to launch complex terrorist attacks, including in the wider region, as illustrated by the Westgate Mall attack of September 2013 in Nairobi. Al-Shabaab has also reportedly been able to secure the support of other international terrorist networks. The group reportedly has strong links with Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and has provided training in Somalia to individual terrorists from Nigeria and countries with a closer proximity to its borders.

AFRICOM, the United States Military command for Africa, believed that al-Shabab will continue to attack nations that contribute troops to the Somalia effort. The commanding general of AFRICOM, David Rodriguez, said 19 May 2014 despite the fact that al-Shababs area of control had decreased in recent months, the militant group continued to be a threat. General Rodriguez said al-Shabab remains a threat to US interests in the region and in Europe and has stated a wish to attack the US mainland as well. The challenge is that al-Shabab is now really focusing on asymmetric attacks and they adjusted some of their strategy about a year ago by conducting the sensational terrorist type attacks, Rodriguez explained.

The African Union AMISOM peacekeeping forces and the Somali National Army launched a fresh campaign against al-Shabab militants in late August 2014 to take their remaining strongholds.

Following the adoption of the revised Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and the completion of the necessary relocation of troops and equipment across the new Sectors, the first phase of the joint AMISOM-SNA expansion operation, code-named Operation Eagle, was launched on 3 March 2014. The Operation, which ended on 30 March 2014, resulted in the recovery from Al-Shabaab of eight districts, namely Rab Dhuure, Wajid, Xuduur, Bulo Burto, Warshik, Qoryooley, Maxaasand and Ceel Buur. The Operation denied Al-Shabaab freedom of movement, forcing this group to relocate elsewhere.

Phase 2, code-named Operation Indian Ocean, was launched on 25 August 2014, seeking to build on the progress made during Operation Eagle. Each Sector was assigned objectives with instructions to seize, secure and stabilize key districts along the coastline. In Sector 1, the SNA and AMISOM jointly captured Golweyn, on 30 August, Bulo Mareer and Kurtunwareey towns, in Lower Shabelle, on 30 and 31 August. On 6 October, the SNA and AMISOM forces captured Al-Shabaabs capital and last stronghold, Barawe. In Sector 2, the SNA and AMISOM, en route to Jamame, captured the town of Bulo-Gudud (30 km of Kismayo), on 6 October. In Sector 3, the SNA and AMISOM recovered the town of Tayeeglow (Bakol region), on 25 August. In Sector 4, the SNA and AMISOM forces reopened the Beletweyne-Bulo Burto road and successfully escorted 18 trucks loaded with relief aid to Bulo Burto.

The SNA and AMISOM forces planned to reopen the road between Bulo Burto and Jalalaqsi. In Sector 5, on 30 August 2014, the SNA and AMISOM cleared and secured the towns of Fidow and Jalalaqsi. The SNA and AMISOM later captured the town of Raag Ceel and captured the town of Cadale on 1 October, which was previously used as a supply route by Al-Shabaab.

As a result of these defeats, Al-Shabaab withdrew its forces to the rural areas and the Middle Juba region, in order to preserve its equipment and personnel for a long asymmetrical struggle. Al-Shabaab still controls some areas inland from Kismayo and Barawe, particularly the towns of Dinsoor, Baardheere, Buaale, Jamame and Jilib, as well as rural areas around these towns. In the short term, Al-Shabaab will continue its attacks, seeking to create chaos and disruption at every opportunity. Al-Shabaab remained a threat to Somalias immediate neighbors and the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) to AMISOM.

Somalia Political Conditions Map - October 2014 Despite the peace and security gains recorded in those areas recovered from AlShabaab, the overall security situation in Somalia remained volatile. Al-Shabaab continues to carry out a dual-track asymmetric campaign focused on the conventional targeting of vulnerable AMISOM and SNA defensive positions and emplacement of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at AMISOM and SNA supply lines. On 21 February 2014, a group of 9 AlShabaab militants launched a complex attack on Villa Somalia. During the attack, 14 people were killed, including Government officials. On 5 July 2014, Al-Shabaab attacked the Federal Parliament, killing 4 people and injuring 7 others.

On 8 July 2014, Al-Shabaab attacked Villa Somalia, killing 3 and injuring 2 AMISOM soldiers. On 30 August 2014, Al-Shabaab attacked the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) prison in Mogadishu, killing three NISA personnel. Seven of the attackers were also killed during the attack. On 08 September 2014, Al-Shabaab attacked an AMISOM convoy on its way to Afgoye (Lower Shabelle), killing 6 civilians and injuring 4 AMISOM personnel. On 01 September 2014, a US air strike killed Al-Shabaab leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, in Barawe. AlShabaab confirmed the death of its leader and named Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ubeyda as his replacement.

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Page last modified: 20-11-2016 17:04:05 ZULU