As reported by VOA on 21 October 2023, an al-Shabaab suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a camp manned by Somali military police at Elasha Biyaha, about 20km west of Mogadishu. At least six security personnel were killed and seven others injured. In an earlier attack reported by the Somali Guardian on 15 October 2023, al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 61 government soldiers by targeting army and clan militia housing in central Somalia’s Galgadud region in Burjed village near the town of Guriel. These attacks were possibly retaliation for airstrikes against al-Shabaab bases in the three regional capitals controlled by the group in the Middle Jubba region, south-central Somalia, on 10 October 2023 (Somali National News Agency, 10 October 2023).
World Watch Research analysts Yonas Dembele comments: “The recent surge in attacks comes despite concerted efforts by Somali security forces and their international partners to target al-Shabaab strongholds. According to ACLED’s ‘Situation Update October 2023’ published on 20 October 2023, political violence has spiked significantly, especially in the Hirshabelle and Galmudug states, since the August launch of the government’s ‘Operation Black Lion’ against al-Shabaab. This suggests that the group remains resilient and capable of mounting deadly attacks, even in the face of concentrated military offensives. The attacks by al-Shabaab not only affect military installations but also have a devastating impact on civilians, thereby creating an environment of fear and disrupting the social fabric of the country.”