Recent Al Shabaab attacks have been carried out with the militant group claiming to avenge alleged AU killings of civilians in Merka by Ugandan soldiers in late July.
However, intelligence analysis has it that the recent attack on AU troops in in the Janaale district of the Lower Shabelle region came exactly a year after the militant group leader was killed in a drone assault. Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in an American drone assault in September 2014.
Al Shabaab has embarked on a mission to create resentment among the Somali civilians against the Somali National Army and the AU troops. They have continually staged attacks on the AU bases on false allegation of protecting civilians.
However, most of the terrorists’ attacks have been random, killing Muslims and non-Muslims as well as both on government troops and on civilians. They have carried out bombings on streets resulting in the death of civilians. The allegation that the militants have an aim to protect civilians is therefore false and a strategy for the militants to control as many populations in Somalia as possible. Their strategy banks on first, earning the trust of innocent civilians.
In fact, recent intelligence thwarted a planned Al Shabaab attack on a street. In the aftermath of an attack Janaale, the militants were eyeing the congested Maka Almukarama Street, the busiest street which leads to most important places like the National Assembly and the presidential palace.
This was clearly not a plan to protect innocent civilians. Many of them could have died in the attacks in any event that they happened.
Security sources warn that Al Shabaab militants want to earn the trust of the civilians so that they can source for more recruits and stay relevant in Somalia.