The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) conducted nearly a week of intense ‘precision attrition and counter-force‘ ground and air operations against positions and camps belonging to the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen movement (HSM) in Gedo region of Somalia.
Army operations targeted make-shift terrorist camps in the following areas, El-Adde, El-Gaduud, Arabow,Raxoole, Qodqod, and areas outside Dinsoor. Kenya’s military objectives were specific (neutralizing terrorist camps and making direct strikes against targets verified as the infrastructure for training and logistical support centers of the terrorist).
Military intelligence assessments estimated enemy size at 40-80 jihadists in either camp (make shift camps are popular with the jihadists). Precision airstrikes (mission was intelligence led and targets geo-located using modern avionics fitted in fighter aircraft’s) destroyed the camps, enemy war assets including weapons and ammo, and killed enemy combatants (jihadists/terrorists). A Rate of 50% kill success (for air strikes) and 25% kill success (for ground assault) was used as a metric to measure success and 80% in enemy combat assets capability decimation per camp. However, the actual battle damage assessment reports (BDA-R) can only be generated after intelligence gathering assets in the target areas finalize collection of intelligence besides subsequent production of the intelligence by the KDF-DMI.
The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), over the past 5 years has decommissioned thousands of jihadists and their war capabilities (weaponry and combatants) in Somalia. The army despite re-hatting to AMISOM has in recent past (after an attack on its AMISOM contingent in El-Adde) revised its core counter-insurgency strategy.
In convectional warfare, the army does not publish pictures and actual number of dead enemy combatants unless the environment pacification strategy requires propaganda to win defectors and local community support. However, assessments and actual battle damage reports are filed as classified.
This begs the question ‘how many Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in El-Adde and the targeted areas in past 1-week?”
Most Somali reporters provided a biased report of El-Adde. This made it difficult to establish how many jihadists were killed. On the other hand, locals in El-Adde, Arabow, El-Gaduud, and Dinsoor have reported heavy causalities in the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen movement (HSM) ranks. One account quoted 3 truckloads of dead bodies were buried by the militants outside El-Adde (mass grave).
“In Al-Shabaab propaganda videos analyzed by Strategic Intelligence Service experts, dozens of jihadists are captured in the videos being shot dead by AMISOM troops. The Al-Khataib propaganda productions video editors are unable to achieve their IW objectives if they edit/remove these video parts showing jihadists/fighters being killed. This of-course is an indicator of massive continuous loss of enemy combatants. The video producer edits the lengthy clips showing death and destruction of the Shebaab fighters. This is to ensure the death of the minions (low cadre fighters) is not part of the final video and that these events are not used against the terror group.” Explains David Goldman,lead researcher at SIS.
An operation conducted by Strategic Intelligence against the terror group verified existence of psychological weariness after the attack. Terror cells lost tens of new recruits in the attacks to the Kenya Army. The loss was tragic to recruiters and couriers since some of the many dead were newly recruited Kenyan and Tanzanian fighters well known to the recruiters.
What are the actual figures of dead Al-Shabaab in El-Adde? Probably 200-350 or thereabout. In almost all 43 failed attacks against KDF bases approximately 12-20 jihadists are killed. The attacks are carried out by an estimated 40-80 fighters. In the Leego and Janaale attack, an estimated 300 Al-Shabaab fighters were used. Intelligence reports show, due to previous losses against KDF and its superiority, Al-Shabaab dispatched/deployed twice the size of previous forces against AMISOM troops to El-Adde to optimize success ratios. As such the past attack enemy combatant death ration can be used to estimate the body count. In both assessments (KDF vs Al-Shabaab and other AMISOM troops vs Al-Shabaab) kill ratio is 25% (20 kills out of every estimated 80 jihadists).
This cant be quantified statistically without a body count. However, an assessment of previous outcomes in theater largely contribute to these projections. The numbers are very high, but Al-Shabaab is quick to bury the dead and clean up evidence of their dead for 2 reasons; deny AMISOM chance to conduct a count of the dead criminals and protect their fighters from psychological breakdown upon learning of news about many of their comrades/fighters were killed.