Radical Islamist Shebab rebels launched an attack on Friday against a base of the African Union force in Somalia (Atmis), about 120 kilometres south-west of the capital Mogadishu, Atmis announced, without giving further details of any casualties.
The Shebab rebels, affiliated to al-Qaeda, have been fighting the internationally-backed federal government since 2007. Driven out of the country’s main cities in 2011-2012, they remain firmly entrenched in vast rural areas. They regularly carry out suicide attacks in this poor and unstable country in the Horn of Africa.
On Friday morning, “an Atmis base in Bulo Marer was attacked by Al-Shabab. Atmis forces are currently assessing the security situation”, announced the African Union force in Somalia in a tweet, without giving any further details.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, who returned to power in May 2022, has promised to launch an “all-out war” against the Shebab.
This offensive, supported by the African Union’s force in Somalia and US air strikes, has resulted in the recapture of vast territories in two states in the centre of the country, Hirshabelle, and Galmudug.
But the shebab continue to carry out bloody attacks in retaliation, demonstrating their ability to strike at the heart of Somali towns and military installations.
On 29 October 2022, two car bombs exploded in Mogadishu, killing 121 people and injuring 333, the deadliest attack for five years in this country also affected by a historic drought.
In a report to the UN Security Council in February, Antonio Guterres said that 2022 had been the deadliest year for civilians in Somalia since 2017, largely due to Shebab attacks.