The Battle for Somalia in 2020

2020 started with AS’s defensive and ended with the recovery of the Group’s activities, especially in urban areas; Attacks on its main gates to the capital halted its operations in Mogadishu in the first and second quarters and saw a marked decline.

in the capital until the third quarter, in the last quarter of the year, after adapting to the situation, it intensified its attacks and positioned itself better at the end of the year. The most active anti-AS force while AMISOM was the least active attacker despite being attacked most often by AS. Routes: Introduction 2020 saw mixed results in Somalia.

Compared to 2019, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks decreased by 35%, while kills increased by 15% and hand grenade attacks increased by more. Direct military attacks on Allied positions also remained almost at the same level as in 2019, while ambushes decreased by a third and mortar attacks increased by two thirds.

Non-suicidal VBIED attacks were reduced by 70%.The use of personal improvised explosive devices (explosive devices that are dependent on individual attackers) has increased significantly, up 550% from two in 2019 to eleven in 2020, by AlShabaab’s war departments and how it is adapting to changes on the battlefield to have; and second, how the Allies reacted to the AS attacks. Therefore, this report will split the attacks between the Amniyaat and Jabahaat attacks in order to better understand their respective trends.

The Amn branch is accountable for intelligence, assassinations through pistol, IED assaults in city regions, hand grenade assaults, and VBIED assaults. The Jabahaat are accountable for all traditional army operations: raids on allied bases, ambushes, and mortar assaults. Suicide assaults are a part of the Istish-haadi – “martyrdom” – sub-branch, that is run in collaboration among the 2 departments.

This sub-branch is accountable for SVBIED and PBIED assaults. When the suicide bombers paintings in city regions, they’re managed through the Amn; withinside the rural regions, they arrive beneathneath the Jabahaat.

Trend in assaults In 2020, AS changed into beneathneath extreme strain from the air through US airstrikes, and from the land through SNA’s Danab and Gorgor battalions.

From the quantity of assaults it nonetheless controlled to behavior in that harsh environment, the group’s explosives makers appear secure and its explosives elements are abundant; however, the brand new fact has made it hard to threat sending S/VBIEDs into city regions managed through the allies. This is plain from the below, displaying how PBIEDs are used to supplement and update S/VBIED assaults.

A discount in S/VBIEDs for 1 / 4 is observed through a PBIED attack. While S/VBIED and PBIED assaults garner plenty media attention, those are a tiny a part of AS’s common campaign. While 2019 noticed Amn and Jabahaat operations nearly reflect every other, 2020 noticed Amn operations take middle degree withinside the group’s common strategy. By the quit of the year, nearly all assaults had been through the Amn branch.

AS Focus

Most AS assaults focused AMISOM and the SNA. It additionally objectives civil servants to preserve eroding the government’s cappotential to govern. Similarly, it maintains to goal elders which have rejected its amnesty or refused to paintings with it.

Urban objectives – the police, elders, civil servants– are focused with sticky IEDs, PBIEDs, S/VBIEDs, and assassination through pistols. The SNA and AMISOM are subjected to raids, IEDs, SVBIEDs, and ambushes.

Responding to AS

Most assaults towards AS had been performed through the ordinary SNA and unique SNA units, every so often assisted through airstrikes. Some of the airstrikes had been unbiased and appeared to goal AS ahead bases, particularly withinside the Mudug vicinity in which AS turned into trying to unfold in the direction of Bacaadweyne and Hobyo. Unchanged from 2019, AMISOM turned into the least energetic towards AS in 2020.

Its weapons had been quiet towards AS for the duration of maximum of the year, undertaking three assaults towards the organization even as AS attacked it 197 times. The end result of this timid posture has ended in AMISOM retaining bases which might be best provided through air, with maximum Main Supply Routes reduce off through AS.

On the alternative hand, the SNA turned into the maximum energetic towards AS, undertaking seventy eight assaults towards AS even as AS attacked it 205 times.

The SNA controlled to get better cities alongside the Shabelle River from AS and pressured the organization’s finance branch to transport in addition farfar from Mogadishu, in addition disrupting AS’s operations.


The 12 months 2020 noticed all aspects make combined gains, with AS growing its reliance on city operations to evolve to its waning fortunes withinside the rural regions. Under stress from relentless SNA assaults occasionally assisted via way of means of airstrikes and concrete checkpoints that made it tougher to assault authorities strongholds, the Amniyaat turned into pressured to depend greater on PBIEDs and assassinations via way of means of pistols.

This additionally intended that the Jabahaat may want to employ greater SVBIEDs to help its assaults on army bases. As the SVBIEDs locate it tougher to go into city regions, their use in rural operations has multiplied and is anticipated to retain growing. In the city regions, PBIEDs and assassinations multiplied to cowl for the discount in SVBIED and IED assaults.

Assassination via way of means of pistols happens in an area in which it’s miles viable to escape, whilst sticky IEDs and PBIEDs are utilized in regions in which protection presence does now no longer allow an escape.

Mohamed Mubarak writes on Somalia, specializing in governance and protection withinside the united states and maintaining tune of development toward a strong Somalia. The perspectives expressed in this newsletter are the author’s personal and do now no longer always mirror Axadle’s editorial policy.

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