In a joint operation, the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) and international partners successfully neutralized over 40 Al-Shabaab militants, including ten foreign fighters, in southern Somalia.
The operation occurred near Nungare in the Afgoy district, Lower Shabelle region. NISA forces, supported by international partners, focused on clearing Al-Shabaab camps in the area. Somali military officials did not specify which international partners were involved in the operation; however, several countries are involved in the training and support of the intelligence agency.
The success of this joint effort underscores the significance of international support in Somalia’s ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab, launched last August. This militant insurgency group, linked to al-Qaeda, seeks to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-recognized government. President and military officials have recently announced that the second phase of the offensive, which will focus on Southwest and Jubbaland regions, is expected to begin soon, further intensifying the efforts to eliminate Al-Shabaab’s presence in the country and the wider region.
This operation was part of a broader, coordinated effort to weaken Al-Shabaab’s presence and disrupt its activities across Somalia. On the same day, Gorgor special forces and local militia, trained by Turkey, ambushed an Al-Shabaab convoy near El Qabobe in the El Dheere district, Galgudud region. A foreign fighter supporting Al-Shabaab was killed during the ensuing gun battle, and explosive-laden vehicles belonging to Al-Shabaab were destroyed.
National Army Commander General Mohamed Tahliil Bihi detailed a separate operation conducted by government forces near the Harardhere district in the southern Mudug region. This operation focused on intercepting a boat carrying weapons and explosives, resulting in the deaths of approximately 67 Al-Shabaab fighters and the capture of several others.
The impact of these operations on the civilian population has been minimal, with no reports of mass displacement.
Al-Shabaab is reportedly experiencing confusion and disorientation due to the successful military operations against the group. Somalia’s military intelligence reports revealed that top Al-Shabaab leaders have been evacuating their families to safe government-controlled areas, signalling the group’s weakening hold on Somalia.
Despite these successful operations, Al-Shabaab remains a regional security threat. On May 2nd, the group detonated an improvised explosive device targeting Kenyan General Service Unit police between Rhamu and Mandera town in northeastern Kenya. The attack killed at least one officer and critically wounded two others. Al-Shabaab claimed the attack killed four soldiers and injured eight others.
Recent trends in Al-Shabaab’s activities reveal an increase in political violence events involving the group, with Hirshabelle state becoming a primary target. The group has executed several attacks in the region, predominantly deploying explosives in their operations. These attacks include under-vehicle improvised explosive devices (UVIEDs) and suicide vehicle-borne IEDs that have led to numerous fatalities among security forces, clan militias, and civilians.
In response to these escalating attacks, Ethiopian troops have joined Somali forces in the capital of the Hiiraan region, Bedetweyne, to counter the growing threat Al-Shabaab poses. The collaboration aims to reinforce security in the affected areas and devise a strategic plan for the next phase of the offensive against the militant group. This joint effort is expected to further weaken Al-Shabaab’s presence in the country and disrupt its operational capabilities.