Tuesday 1, September 2015, Al Shabaab launched a full frontal attack on an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) army base leaving a trail of dead in their wake.
On Friday 26 June 2015, AMISOM suffered one of its greatest setbacks yet. In the town of Leego Al Shabaab attacked an AMISOM military base under the contingent of Burundian troops killing dozens of soldiers.
Al Shabaab seems to have attacked the AU army base in Janaan district of the Lower Shabelle on Tuesday 1, September coincidentally that same day after their leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed by a ferocious American drone assault.
The army base is situated less than 100 kilometers away from where the body of Godane was found.
Al Shabaab employed a vehicle borne explosive (VBIED) to gain forceful entrance into the military base before engaging the soldiers in a gun battle. Following the attack the troops undertook a tactical withdrawal consolidated their force and regained full control of the base.
Al Shabaab group since then has claimed responsibility of the attack as vengeance against what Ugandan troopd did in the town of Marka late July. AMISOM launched investigations on the Marka allegations and several officers have been indicted.
On another incident, Al Shabaab attacked an AMISOM military base under Burundian contingent in Leego and killed dozens soldiers.
Though Al Shabaab has suffered huge blows from AMISOM troops, they have been pushed out of key towns and strongholds as well as losing hundreds of fighters but in an asymmetric war, Al-Shabaab’s long experience of guerrilla warfare and its vastly better knowledge of local conditions and terrain make it a formidable foe.
Beyond the tragic loss of life, the series of attacks witnessed in different locations in Somalia are devastating and are clear signal that Harakat al Shabaab al Mujahideen (HSM) movement is far from being weakened it was supposed to be by now.
The latest Janaale attack adds to the impression that Al-Shabaab is enjoying something of resurgence and that AMISOM is yet to adapt to the group’s hit-and-run tactics the jihadists have turned to.
AMISOM which comprises of troops from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Djibouti and Sierra Leone need to reinvent new strategies to counter the Al Shabaab menace.
The AMISOM’s military tools, intelligence sharing and funding to urgently be looked into as they move to fight the next phase of Al Shabaab. The militants have changed tactics AMISOM need to respond accordingly.