Al-Shabaab attacks AMISOM base in Somalia

AMISOM peacekeepers in Somalia AMISOM peacekeepers in Somalia Feisal Omar/Reuters

4 April 2018

Two suicide car bomb blasts kill Somali troops and African Union peacekeepers, starting a one-day fire fight

On 1 April 2018, at 9 a.m., a series of coordinated attacks carried out by Al-Shabaab took place in the Somali town of Bulamarer, 130 km South-west of Mogadishu, and in other two posts in the Lower-Shabelle region. The targets of the attacks were African Union (AU) and Somali troops. In Bulamarer two suicide car bombs hit one AU and another Somali military vehicle, killing Ugandan peacekeepers and Somali soldiers. The attacks took place near the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base and were followed by heavy guerrilla attacks on the ground that lasted for the entire day. Major Farah Osman, from the Somali army, described the events as a “hellish battle.”

The final number of casualties from both sides remains unclear. Al-Shabaab spokesperson, Abdiasis Abu Mus’ab, declared that 14 fighters and 59 AMISOM soldiers had died during the fighting. An official press release from AMISOM on April 2 stated on the other hand that at least 30 militants were “put out of action” and that four Ugandan peacekeepers died and six were injured on their side during the battle.

Al-Shabaab is an Islamic military opposition group born in Somalia and affiliated to al-Qaeda which ultimate goals is the one to establish a global Islamic caliphate. Al-Shabaab controlled much of the southern and central Somali territories between 2008 and 2012, year in which its power started declining due to the pressure of AMISOM and internal struggles. This is the reason why, since then, the group changed its military tactics, targeting primarily peacekeeping bases and civilians.

In July 2016, the AU announced its upcoming gradual withdrawal from Somalia, beginning in 2018 and ending foreseen in 2020. Civilians are nevertheless scared from the repercussions these changes might bring. A local shop-owner declared to The Guardian “we need the world to help us and do not let AMISOM leave this country.” These attacks might, in fact, be an attempt by Al-Shabaab to hasten AU’s withdrawal from the country.

 

To know more, please read:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-somalia-security/al-shabaab-attacks-an-african-union-base-in-somalia-idUSKCN1H815F

http://ucdp.uu.se/#country/520

http://ucdp.uu.se/#/actor/717

http://amisom-au.org/amisom-mandate/

http://amisom-au.org/2018/04/amisom-troops-successfully-repulse-al-shabaab-terrorists-following-simultaneous-attacks-on-three-au-bases-in-the-lower-shabelle-region/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/somalia-al-shabab-attacks-african-union-base-180401151818560.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43614461

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1277286/world

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/01/world/africa/somalia-shabab-african-union.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/01/al-shabaab-attack-kills-ugandan-soldiers-in-somalia

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