Somalia: Local Roles in Al-Shabaab Conflict as SNA Adapts Strategies

Somalia: Local Roles In Al-shabaab Conflict As Sna Adapts Strategies

Somalia: Somali National Army Changes Tactics in Battle Against Al-Shabaab by Involving Locals

In an effort to combat the Al-Shabaab militants who dominate rural areas of central and southern Somalia, the Somali National Army (SNA) has adopted a new strategy that involves giving locals significant roles on the battlefield. This shift in tactics aims to improve coordination and execution, with the military taking on auxiliary roles. However, this has resulted in the withdrawal of SNA forces from various frontlines, which could potentially weaken the fight against the militants.

Under this strategy, local fighters will be registered and provided with monthly stipends as incentives for their participation. In the long term, these fighters will be integrated into the national army as a reward for their efforts to eradicate the militants from the country. To ensure the integrity of the registration process and prevent infiltration by militants, the national intelligence agency is responsible for vetting the fighters.

During the initial phase of operations against the Al-Qaeda-linked group, the government utilized local fighters in Galmadug and HirShabelle states. Brigadier General Abdirahman Turyare, the former national intelligence chief who is now involved in mobilizing local fighters, confirmed these tactical changes in an interview with VOA Somali.

“The current mobilization differs from what was happening in the past few months, which solely focused on the national armed forces,” Turyare explained. He further elaborated that the plan involves reorganizing the armed forces, giving a chance for front-line soldiers to rest, replacing them with newly trained forces, and reengaging the Ma’awisley (local militias), allowing the local community to lead the fight.

This shift in tactics came about after a military operation led by the federal army faced setbacks due to a deadly Al-Shabaab attack on two military brigades deployed deep into Al-Shabaab territory in Cowsweyne village last month, as reported by VOA. Moving forward, the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab will focus on Jubaland and Southwest states, with participation expected from the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops.

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