Battle taken to Al-shabaab

 Terror  Map July-August 2015

AFTER   series of brazen attacks on security installations during the Month of Ramadhan (Mid-June- Mid July), the battle for Somalia has turned against Al-Shabaab.

In June to mid-July during the Ramadan Holy Month) , the insurgents held sway in this war attacking Police stations and Military bases in a murderous orgy that saw 321 people, among them Police officers and troops dead.

An attack in Leego in early July was the turning point. Leego, an AMISOM military camp 30KM west of Mogadishu, the capital was manned by Burundian soldiers.  Reports then said that there were up to 1000 and in any event not less than 500 Al-shabaab fighters confronting a camp of 120. 

The camp was simply overwhelmed and at the end of the siege, 50 Burundian soldiers were dead. The camp was emptied of all military hardware. Several other camps were overrun in a similar manner in just one week.

In response, the African Union Mandated AMISOM together with the Somalia Nation Army launched Operation "Jubba Corridor" in Mid july.  The Campaign was boosted by the entry of additional Ethiopian soldiers armed with Firepower. This boosted the fire capacity of the AMISOM forces to chase Al-Shabaab especially on the rough terrain.

Operation Jubba Corridor was designed to uproot al-Shabaab from Gedo region of Somalia, which they had held for Nine years.  The insurgents were put on the run almost immediately as they were uprooted from the region. Contrary to previous fights, Al-shabaab's options in the Operation Jubba had narrowed.

Previously, when confronted by AMISOM which has a superior firepower, Al- Shabaab fled to another region of Somalia. Gedo region, was the last bastion of the insurgents and once uprooted from there, life became precarious and the death toll among them began to climb. 
In June, Al- shabaab killed 321 persons in 56 incidents accounting for 45% of the deaths. It recorded a MEARisk Cincident index of 2.64/5.00

Since then the battle has turned the other side. Al-shabaab is on the receiving end and security in such countries as Kenya is improving. Terrorism incidents declined 29% month- on month to 40 Incidents in July. The death toll shrunk 69% month-on-month to 98 deaths down from 321 in June. The MEARisk CIncidents declined marginally to 2.63 /5.00 in July.

There was further 13% decline in recorded terrorist related events to 35 in August which resulted in 65 deaths accounting 34 % decline in terror related deaths in east Africa region. Terrorism rating in the MEARisk Cincidents index declined from 2.64 in June to 2.33/5.00 in August, a 43% decline indicating that al-shabaab is under intense pressure and that its threat is being decimated.

As the death toll from  terrorism related events took a nosedive,  the death toll  from security and Defense incidents was rising, much of it  suffered by Al- shabaab. In June, there were 86 deaths caused by Security and Defense events arising from 51 incidents.  This was 12% of the total pool of 708 deaths recorded in June.

There was a dramatic increase in the number of deaths from Security and defense events in July. A total of 283 deaths were recorded in this category a 329% increase month-on-month. Of these Al-shabaab suffered 205 of the deaths, forming 74% of the total deaths recorded in this category.
There was similar dramatic increase in the deaths suffered by Al- shabaab to 601 in the Month of August. This was 293% increase over the death toll in July. Al- shabaab losses accounted for 71% of the 849 deaths recorded in August.

After being uprooted from Gedo region, Al- shabaab is now a bunch of homeless punks who must fight even to hold some territory. This makes life dangerous for it. Even then, it has continued its brazen attacks on AMISOM and Somalia National troops.  It has continued flexing its muscle, by ambushing AMISOM forces with devastating consequences on both.

 MEARisk analysts expect Al- shabaab to continue with its brazen attacks on AMISOM forces.  Though virtually boxed in, Al- shabaab will not raise the white flag. It will choose to fight to the last man standing. This shifts it's motive for fighting from overthrowing the western backed government in Somalia, to fighting for its own physical survival. It is thus going to be a thorn in the flesh for AMISOM until the last of them is defeated.

As in the past, we expect AMISOM to respond with a sledge hammer to any such attacks. Whatever the strategy, al shabaab adopts; a homeless military is no military. We expect the routing to continue and Al-shabaab’s position to get even more precarious.

Some its fighters, estimated to be 300, have been cut off at Boni Forest in an operation by Kenyan security agencies.  The 90-day operation, dubbed operation “Linda Boni” was designed to decimate the insurgents hiding in Boni forest which straddles both Kenya and Somalia.
In Somalia itself, Al- shabaab is losing large swathes of territory it once held. Although still fighting to recapture some of the lost territory, this fight could be a strategy to draw them out from the civilian areas. The fight to recapture some lost territory, it seems, could be Al- shabaab’s waterloo.

Al shabaab’s days appear to be numbered and getting fewer by the day.


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