In the early hours of today, the militant group al-Shabaab attacked the Somali army troops in Awdheegle, Lower Shabelle. Al-Shabaab claimed to have successfully raided government camps and driven the Somali soldiers out of the town. However, reliable sources described a different course of events to the Somali Digest.
Awdheegle, Lower Shabelle, South West State, SOMALIA. By Dalmar.
In their statement, al-Shabaab announced, “This morning, the Mujahideen forces launched a brutal attack on the camps of the apostate militias [al-Shabaab’s pejorative term for the Somali Security Forces] in the Awdheegle district of Lower Shabelle region. The apostate stations we attacked included two bases outside the city and one base near a bridge within the district. By the grace of Allah, after a heavy battle, they [the fighters] were able to completely take control of the district.”
Seeking clarity on the situation, the Somali Digest contacted reliable sources within the Somali National Army (SNA). These sources confirmed the occurrence of the battle, acknowledging that al-Shabaab had indeed launched an attack on government troops in Awdheegle and even entered the town. However, they refuted al-Shabaab’s claim of victory, emphasising that the government forces, including regular units and Gorgor special forces, successfully repelled the militants.
Support from “international partners”
“Al-Shabaab did not take control of Awdheegle. A heavy battle took place, and they [al-Shabaab] were ultimately defeated. Nevertheless, there are casualties on both sides,” clarified our source.
In the afternoon, Somali Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Daud Aweis, confirmed the attack, presenting it as a “major victory against al-Shabaab.” According to him, the SNA and international partners, whom he did not specify, successfully neutralised over 60 al-Shabaab fighters after thwarting their ambush attempt.
The Somali government has recently focused its counterterrorism efforts primarily on HirShabelle and Galmudug. It limited operations in other parts of the country, such as Lower Shabelle in the South West State. Analysts have therefore urged the government to address security concerns in all areas to ensure the safety and stability of the whole nation.