- On 22 August 2015 Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen’s Istishhadyin unit claimed responsibility for the suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack that killed 16 Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers lining up for training. In the attack, 21 other soldiers were wounded inside the Z-military training camp that houses 2000 recruits and their AMISOM trainers at Kismayo University in the city of Kismayo in Somalia’s Jubba Hoose region (AMISOM SECTOR 2).
- On the 22nd of August 2015, towards mid-afternoon, 5 civilians were killed and 7 others wounded at a junction near the Somalia Ministry of Internal Security by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) in the capital Mogadishu. Strategic Intelligence Service OSINT systems traced the attack back to the Istishhadyin unit.
These 2 events highlight a surge in deployment and success of the deadly SVBIED by Istishhadyin Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen’s suicide brigade. Such sucess is used to rate and further refine the strategy, and this if not stymied will have catastrophic ramifications.
The high rate of sucess against both soft targets and hard targets (military officers and their facilities) is indicative of an evolving strategy by the Istishhadyin unit. The surveillance and dry run stages have been well rehearsed to avoid detection. The assembly of the weapon is shrounded well enough while the actual attack is meticulously rehearsed. Critical detection points have been mopped well to ensure they are bypassed.
The redifining of the strategy, particulalry the planning stages of terror attacks, and the adoption of suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) as choice weapon by the Istishhadyin unit of the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen terror movement foretells possibility of escalation of attacks targeting both soft and hard targets.
The ability to bypass detection, surveillance, and deployment of the SVBIED gives the Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen tactical advantage even from the PsyOps aspect.
Counter-terrorism and intelligence operations against the Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen terror group will most certainly improve critical threats detection methods and equally escalate related operations to stymie the surge and effectively dim the terrorists aspirations of violent extremism.