Mogadishu: The Calm Before The Storm

Mogadishu has been quite calm in the past month (by Mogadishu standards), with intermittent attacks by the Shabab urban guerrilla units on AMISOM and TFG positions, mostly concentrating on the outer bases in the northern and eastern parts of the city.

The Shabab security has carried out numerous beheadings in the parts of the city they still control (almost all of Huriwaa and Dayniile districts) – to show that they are still present and capable. The numbers of hand grenade and IED attacks have not gone up as much as had been expected. This may be due to the fact that many of the ICU-Djibouti (the pro-Sharif faction of the ICU that had been part of the ARS in Eritrea and later followed him to Djibouti and are sometimes known as ARS-Djibouti. The ICU were the only real armed group in the ARS. ) amn -the security wing- members had joined the TFG when Sheikh Sharif became president. They seem to have been deployed to some of the areas vacated by the Shabab. Their presence means that all the Shabab members they know can not show their faces there.

The Shabab will have to familiarise the areas of interest (for security attacks) with security operatives that are not known by the ICU-D, and this may explain why there is a relative lull in the security attacks. It takes some time for an operative to learn the surroundings; scout optimum IED positions; get a safe house and cover; identify targets for assassination, and so on.

Another possible reason for the calm is the fact that the TFG officials have been a bit reluctant to move to the former Shabab areas. Few middle-ranking officials have moved to these areas. It seems that the Shabab don’t want to give an impression that those areas are unsafe and are avoiding targeting them, in the hope that many more TFG officials will move there; officials whom they would hope to target.

If that is the case, their plan may be working: a high ranking member of the TFG military court has moved to Bondhere district. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was targeted with an IED in the coming weeks.

The Shabab also seem to be making use of the TFG’s call for the Shabab members to desert the group and join the TFG. A few Shabab members have joined the TFG. It is not clear whether they are genuine deserters or Shabab infiltrators joining the TFG to further the group’s goals – the latter can not be ruled out. This may be reflected in the future attacks: some will be inside jobs, made possible by such infiltrators.

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1 Response to Mogadishu: The Calm Before The Storm

  1. saqib ahmed says:

    Very interesting stuff.

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