MOGADISHU, Somalia – The UN has reaffirmed that Al-Shabaab has stepped up attacks in Somalia, which still raises concerns about the future of the Horn of Africa nation, which has continued to bear the brunt of the group’s threats in recent years.
Al-Shabaab first came to power in 2007 and since then it has continued to wreak havoc and chaos on innocent civilians and security forces, with government officials also targeted. More than 5,000 people have been killed by the group throughout East Africa.
In a statement to the UN Security Council [UNSC] On Monday night, UN Special Envoy to Somalia James Swan said the group stepped up its attacks from August 2020 to early 2021, targeting various strategic points including military bases and various hospitality industries.
“Al-Shabaab continues to pose the primary threat to the country’s security. Al-Shabaab has increased its operational pace since August 2020 and early 2021 has seen a new peak in the number of attacks, including more personal and vehicle-borne IEDs targeting government officials and key figures in Somali society, “Swan said in a statement.
But the envoy noted that security operations have continued to bear fruit, especially in Lower Shabelle, where the group has been supported for a couple of years. The military has managed to liberate several strategic cities throughout the region, with the US precision attacks also eliminating terrorists in Middle Jubba.
“Major military gains were made by Somali security forces backed by AMISOM in the Lower Shabelle region in early 2019 and again in early 2020, and these are now being consolidated to enable further progress against Al Shabaab in other areas,” Swan noted. “UNSOS has maintained its support for AMISOM and qualified Somali forces throughout this period, despite the complications of the COVID pandemic.”
Over the weekend, SNA chief Odawa Yusuf Rageh said 50 terrorists were killed, including Moalim Bukhari, the group’s intelligence chief in Lower Shabelle, and Sheikh Hasan Ganeey, commander of the Ops in the southern Somalia region, a further manifestation of the group’s losing grip across the country.
Earlier this year, more than 700 US commando troops were withdrawn from Somalia following an order from former President Donald Trump. It is not clear if Joe Biden will reintroduce them, but it is understood that they were relocated elsewhere in the East Africa region.