Somalia | 13 May 2022

Somalia: Al-Shabaab shows its strength in run-up to election

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As Somalia prepares for the presidential election on 15 May 2022 (Africa News, 5 May 2022), al-Shabaab launched attacks on foreign troops on two consecutive days:
  • 4 May 2022: Around 30 Burundian troops belonging to the African Union peacekeeping force were killed in a pre-dawn attack at a camp near Ceel Baraf, a village about 160km northeast of Mogadishu (France24, 4 May 2022). Al-Shabaab claimed it had taken control of the camp and killed 173 troops.
  • 5 May 2022: A convoy of Ethiopian troops in Somalia's south-western Gedo region were ambushed. A heavy firefight ensued between Ethiopian forces and al-Shabaab, who claimed responsibility for the attack. Casualties were not reported.
World Watch Research analyst Yonas Dembele comments: "In the back-to-back attacks, al-Shabaab has once more demonstrated its own virulence and the fragility of the Somali State (The Conversation, 19 April 2022). The boldness to attack military convoys and bases illustrates that the group has grown in sophistication and military capability. Despite the efforts of AU peacekeepers, al-Shabaab remains firmly rooted in Somalia, spreading its radical understanding of Islam. The implication of this is that religious freedom will continue to elude the country, and Christians in particular will continue to be a particular target, if discovered."


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