On January 15th 2016, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen (HSM) issued a statement through its social media channels claiming to have conducted an attack targeting a Company (150 Soldiers) of the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) contingent at their forward operating base (FOB) at El-Adde village in Gedo region of Somalia. The statement by the terrorist group also claimed that 63 soldiers were killed.
Interestingly though, the group did not disclose how many jihadists were killed in the 3 hours firefight. Various accounts by media houses, analysts, and scholars remain fictitious accounts of the events of that morning and only serve as psychological warfare tools for the terrorists. There’s no scholarly discourse let alone media commentary about the losses inflicted on the jihadists flanks. Battle damage assessment (BDA) confirm approximately 126 militants were killed by soldiers holding fort at the beleaguered base. More were killed during the search and rescue operations (SRR) by army cavalry units.
The El-Adde KDF FOB was attacked at 0445hours (4.445am) East African time, just minutes after the combat patrol team came back from night surveillance and recon duty. Normally wake up time for the army is 0500Hours. It was when the patrol team’s Tail-End Charlie (TEC) unlatched his automatic M4 Riffle from its tripod and walked past the FOB gate a vehicular bomb (SVBIED) detonated right behind him ripping through the entire front side of the FOB. This was followed by a barrage of RPG’s targeting the empty makeshift Somali Army (SNA) camp, directly opposite the KDF FOB.
Soldiers trained their machine-guns at the direction from which the RPG’s were being fired from. It was a decoy. By concentrating their firepower at fending off an attack from the SNA Camp on the South, KDF Army point men, cover-men, and machine-gunners were bombed by a suicide vehicle borne improvised device (SVBIED). The SVBIED struck the nerve of the base. In that single explosion nearly 40-50 soldiers died.
The 1st 30 minutes of the attack were critical to the company of 146 men who were reduced by nearly a third after the first SVBIED detonated. Military Intelligence and Official Intelligence reports details of how 78 men held fort for approximately 3hours (0445Hrs -0740Hrs) before they decided to fall back and tactically withdraw from the area. A critical analysis by Strategic Intelligence analysts pieces together the dawn events of January 15th 2016. We’ve watched the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen (HSM) video and picture images from the battle scene, we’ve also examined the debris and geography of the area.
In the video we’ve counted 63 bodies of KIA Soldiers. Often Al-Shabaab Mujahideen will exaggerate figures for purpose of psyops. The photos in the video were carefully repeated (placed in different positions to exaggerate fatal causalities). The injuries of the KIA Soldiers are specifically from explosions whereby limbs and the head have opened due to the explosions caused by the SVBIED. Those who suffered injuries on their limbs and attempted to crawl away suffered fatal bullet wounds .
At 0700 Hours (there’s morning sunlight and shine) very brave soldiers are seen leaving the camp after attempting to rescue several of their injured comrades. Several platoons withdrew using Humvee’s while others who were cut-off maneuvered to safe tactical positions.
An estimated 300-400 militants were involved in the attack; based on soldiers account, video analysis, and critical examination of past jihadist content and activities in Somalia. Approximately 126 jihadist’s were killed in El-Adde and outside the base.
While the Government of Kenya confirmed that its troops suffered a major setback and lost a small number of troops, media, pundits, and foreign government officials with intent to marshal support for their troops have consistently made fictitious claims about El-Adde.