AMISOM lost a position they captured from the Shabab on the early morning of Friday 29th July. The Shabab managed to penetrate the AMISOM lines and destroy a tank, hours after AMISOM made significant gains against the Shabab and taking about half of Suq Bacad, the second biggest market in Mogadishu. While the Shabab gains early Friday were not very big, they were the first documented Shabab takeover of an AMISOM position. Before this, no AMISOM-manned position had ever been overrun by the Shabab.
However, it appears that the AMISOM soldiers were caught before they had properly consolidated their gains from the previous day, and this does not therefore reflect declining quality of AMISOM fighting capability. Nevertheless, the Shabab have displayed better response to the battlefield situation than before when they used to launch divertive attacks in other areas of the front lines when faced with loss of ground in one area, instead of disrupting consolidation of the conquered areas by their attackers as they have done now.
The new front line in North Mogadishu
Now the front line in North Mogadishu runs from around Jubba in the south, taking a northerly direction through Manabolyo, Afarta Darjino, all the way to near Towfiq intersection on the 30th street. The Shabab control the eastern part of Suq Bacad while AMISOM-TFG controls the western part. Interestingly, the coalition forces also have Shabab forces to their west in Bakara and their North near the 30th street, making them sandwiched between their enemies. It is the same for the Shabab in Bakara, who have their enemy to the South, East, West, and Northwest.
For the first time, a Shabab-affiliated site (also rumoured to be their official site, though the site denies that) has declared that the Shabab intend to let AMISOM occupy new sites so as to have them “stretch themselves thin, because thousands of soldiers were concentrated in 2KM2 … making it hard to do security operations”. This revelation was made as they were doing an interview with a “military expert”. It seems the Shabab are coming to the open with their strategy.
The Shabab have evacuated many of their radio stations and important operatives from Mogadishu, and this may indicate that their continued hold to their front line positions are meant to allow for more evacuation.