Al Shabaab’s Retaliatory Strike Causes Casualties for Somali Soldiers

Al Shabaab's Retaliatory Strike Causes Casualties For Somali Soldiers

Tuesday August 29, 2023

Over the weekend, al Shabaab militants launched an attack against Somali army troops who were conducting an offensive against them. The attack resulted in numerous soldiers being wounded and an unknown number killed, soldiers involved in the operation and hospital officials have confirmed.

The raid specifically targeted troops in the town of Cowsweyne, which had been seized from the al Qaeda-linked militants just days prior, marking a significant victory in the ongoing campaign against al Shabaab.

The military operation in the central region of the country commenced last year and has recently intensified, leading to the capture of the militants’ stronghold of El Buur on Friday.

However, the attack in Cowsweyne the following day exposed the military’s vulnerability to counter-attacks in areas where al Shabaab has maintained a long-standing presence.

The Somali government has simply stated that the attack was prevented. Military spokespersons and the interior minister did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Two soldiers in Cowsweyne, who claimed they were wounded in the subsequent battle, and sources at a military hospital have revealed that both the army and the militants suffered significant losses.

One of the soldiers, identifying himself as Isse, stated that at least 17 other soldiers were killed. Another soldier named Dahir mentioned that “many” soldiers and militants lost their lives, but couldn’t provide an exact number.

“At around 6 a.m., a car bomb exploded, triggering a fierce battle,” said Dahir. “When we received reinforcements, the fighting intensified, and we successfully defeated the terrorists.”

Four sources at a military hospital disclosed that at least 50 injured soldiers were brought in for medical treatment. They preferred not to disclose their names due to the lack of authorization to speak to the media.

On Saturday, the former Somali president, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, urged parliament to “conduct a thorough investigation into the battle, wherein we lost many soldiers, and hold the commanders accountable.”

Ali Yare Ali, the former deputy mayor of the capital city Mogadishu, claimed that approximately 130 soldiers had perished, citing unnamed military officers present at the scene.

Since 2006, al Shabaab has been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in their quest to overthrow the Western-backed central government of Somalia and enforce their own interpretation of Islamic law.

Reported by Abdi Sheikh; Written by Hereward Holland and George Obulutsa; Edited by Aaron Ross and Tomasz Janowski

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept