The Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen terror movement showed its determined to reclaim its old operations bases in and outside Mogadishu using both geography and psychology as main weaponry.
Geography is used to draw out battle plans for it provides both tactical advantage and strategic value to troops on the ground. In many cases, if geography favors enemy troops, the attacking army is less likely to achieve strategic military objectives.
Psychology is used in war from 2 fronts. One is information warfare which is outrageously affordable for it requires only media to serve as the agent-force multiplier. Upon media spreading horrors of war events, the other front is orchestrating devastating attacks on troops and government facilities to reinforce the latter “that indeed, the attackers are both brutal and capable”
Throughout mid-August and beyond this month of August 2015, the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen terror movement, launched several high-profile operations against government and security-force targets in Somalia.
Strategic Intelligence Service examined carefully 2 of the most notable operations carried out by the Al-Shabaab movement. In one of the operations, the militants overran Marerey village 35km North West of the Capital Mogadishu on Saturday-Sunday 22nd and 23rd August 2015 respectively. Somali National Army lost geographically vital ground to the militants, apparently precipitating a wider SNA withdrawal from bases in zones within the terrorists weaponry range.
On Saturday 22nd August 2015, the militants orchestrated a series of terror attacks in Somalia. Earlier in the day,the militants sleeper cell managed to conduct a suicide VBIED attack against SNA troops and their AMISOM trainers inside the Z-training camp housing over 2000 troops in the port city of Kismayu in Southern Somalia. In this attack, 16 troops died and 30 others were wounded. Later in the day an attack against Ethiopian troops in the West of Somalia and a subsequent terror attack in the capital Mogadishu concluded the terrorists bloody orgy and violence.
Although Military Intelligence describes this surge as limited to vulnerable troops, the rate of success hitherto highlights SNA limited capability. It also highlights gaps in securing geographically vital ground captured and pacified by AMISOM in some sectors, particularly outside and in Mogadishu and the agriculturally rich West Central Somalia.
The terror group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen attacks during August shows the militants intent to recapture old positions they lost when AU-AMISOM intervention forces commenced counter-terrorism army operations.
Lost of strategically vital ground to the Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen terror movement will have short-term ramifications on AMISOM strategy to expand operations aimed at capturing more territory from the terror group. It is not a good scenario, explains David Goldman. AMISOM will have to balance the act by having a multi-pronged strategy that’ll not only consolidate gains but continue destroying the Shebaab.
On the short-term, the terrorists will continue to surge. They’ll most certainly continue targeting Somali Army troops and the Ethiopian contingent who they’ve more often succeeded to attack.
There are limited probing attacks against the Ugandan and Kenyan contingents. This is indicative of effective strategy and must be applied across the AMISOM board.