Al-Shabaab has not stopped to function, rather it is energized and more determined to inflict a significant blow to its aggressors,mainly Kenya which neighbors Somalia and viewed by the militants, as the catalyst that has helped speed their ouster.
Thousands of Al-Shabaab fighters have either died, seriously wounded/maimed, or vanished from their ranks and fold, inflicting serious damage to the militants militia activity capability.
In their tactical and forced retreat, Al-Shabaab is not defeated, rather provided with opportunity to rethink their strategy owing to the fact they still control much of Somalia (Central and Southern).
Al-Shabaab is now split into small units headed by either a foreign fighter with vast guerrilla or terrorist activity knowledge to facilitate success in operations or a militant with skill-set and leadership capacity to achieve desired objectives in a timely manner.
This new policy can be described as ‘Small Unit Leadership’, where trade-craft is the basis of the militants objectives.
In small unit leadership, set objectives are decisively sought after thorough planning, gathering of intelligence, timing and expeditious execution of the strategy to increase success ratio.
In the new small unit leadership plan, Al-Shabaab hopes to launch the following operations to achieve objectives
The militants will use squads which will use hand held grenades, car bombs, suicide bombers, IED’s and guns to launch attacks on targets. Such targets include restaurants, eating places, cafes (coffee & tea places), bars, churches, and public transport facilities/ corridors/areas.
On civilian targets, bombing facilities as aforementioned may escalate besides tactics like kidnap being used.
Planting of improvised explosive devices (IED) on roadsides to ambush transport convoys of soldiers. In such operations, the militants will attack armed forces in patrol, or on transit/deployment/resupply.
Rocket attacks will be used by small units against military bases and convoys.
Guerrilla’s/commando units will launch attacks on military camps in Somalia at night and at convoys of patrolling troops.
The militants will opt to launch very significant attacks on their enemy, KDF, AMISOM, and Ethiopian troops any time anyhow. This is a policy that will help dent morale and strategy of these armies further giving the militants a cause.
There are factors to consider when countering these small units such as their location,time of ambush, and distance from effective weapon range to destroy them.
To lock the target and fire a salvo that can destroy their location can be an effort too late with damage already inflicted, hence, scouting is primary in the KDF and other players operations.
KDF and other AMISOM players must dispatch aerial expeditionary patrols to conduct surveillance operations to confirm safety besides destroy such enemy positions.