Monday, Jihadists attacked two locations in Somalia. One was a U.S. Military airbase in the south part of the Lower Shabelle region. The second attack was a European peace-keeping envoy in the capital city of Mogadishu. Somalia has always been a target for terrorist groups and has attacked the country on several occasions. The U.S. has aided Somalia as the fight against terrorists continues.
The first attack on the U.S. airbase was two vehicles that were driven in the direction of the Balegdole airbase when they were set off and exploded at the gates. Jihadists opened fire immediately after the explosions in an effort to take over the base. Somalia’s Al-Qaeda group, Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack and released a false statement saying their insurgents were victorious at entering the gates of the airbase. The report said, “After breaching the perimeters of the heavily fortified base, the mujahideen [holy warriors] stormed the military complex, engaging the crusaders in an intense firefight.”
Al-Shabab is well known for exaggerating the statements they put out to make themselves look better than they are and to try to add more fear into the public eyes. The U.S. Ambassador to Somalia put out a statement that there was no entry passed the gates but confirmed and condemned the attacks. The report said, “The United States condemns the attacks today in Baledogle and Mogadishu. We commend the Somali security forces who repelled the attack against the Somali National Army (SNA) Base in Baledogle, Lower Shabelle region. The security forces stopped this ultimately failed attack due to their alertness and swift response, not allowing the attackers to breach the outer defensive perimeters of the base.”
The United States military stated, they, along with partner forces, destroyed a vehicle and killed all ten of the militants who were responsible after the attack. The statement released said, “In response to this attack and in self-defense, U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes and used small arms fire targeting al Shabaab terrorists.”
The Balegdole air base is about 60 miles west of Mogadishu and is the home for three different forces. The Ugandan peace-keeping troops, the U.S. special forces, and the Somalia special forces all reside there at the base. The reports show there were no injuries or casualties in either of the attacks on Monday. Hussein Sheikh-Ali, a former national security adviser and founder of the Mogadishu-based security think-tank the Hiraal Institute said, “The attack showed al Shabaab maintains a good intelligence network and can mount complex operations. It implies they have high intelligence and a degree of capability just to get close to that place.”
The airbase is known for using mounted drone attacks when needed. There was a dip in the airstrikes called for in Somalia by the U.S. In the first three months of this year, 28 airstrikes were called for, and there were only four used in the last two months. Hundreds of U.S. troops were withdrawn from Somalia last year, and there is the talk of possibly sending more troops back home, but nothing was determined as of yet.
The second attack was a roadside bomb blasting a peace-keeping envoy which came from Italy. It was confirmed by the Italian Ministry of Defense that the convoy was hit in the explosions. There were pictures sent to Newsweek showing a light-armored vehicle was heavily damaged along with the buildings near the explosion. The Italians were there to train Somalian forces as part of an E.U. mission. Somali has been in a fierce civil war since 1991, and the United Nations has been backing the country to keep its stronghold on the nation. The Jihadists wish to overthrow the government to bring in their strict version of Islam.
Many of the insurgents use roadside bombs and suicide bombers to attack and then swarm in to try and take over a region. Many are unsuccessful, but the damage is always extensive and a nuisance. Last week, al Shabaab claimed 14 Burundian peacekeepers killed. The African Union said only three were killed.
The United States Ambassador’s statement also said, “We are thankful that there were no SNA causalities between the multiple attacks. This attack yet again demonstrates Al-Shabab violently opposes progress towards peace and prosperity in Somalia. The United States affirms our strong commitment to the people and government of Somalia and to assist collective efforts to degrade terror groups and build a stronger and prosperous Somalia that offers a brighter future for its people.”