Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle, Somalia –
Last night, al-Shabaab carried out an assault on a military base and the district commissioner’s building in the city of Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle.
The Somali Digest contacted local residents, who reported a brief exchange of fire between the militants and the base defenders. The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) troops and the government forces are stationed at the base. The sounds of gunfire and explosions from various weapons reverberated in the vicinity.
Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, but no casualties were reported.
No signs of al-Shabaab’s decline
The government forces and their allies are encountering significant challenges in combating al-Shabaab, a group renowned for its mobility and adaptability. The UPDF contingent is part of the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which has just recently completed the first phase of a troop reduction aimed at eventually putting security fully in the hands of the Somali national army and police.
The al-Shabaab group, which maintains connections with al-Qaeda, has conducted a violent insurgency against the fragile government in Mogadishu, supported by the international community, for over 15 years.
Despite a significant offensive launched last August by pro-government forces, with the assistance of the African Union force and U.S. air strikes, the group’s fighters persist in carrying out deadly attacks.
In the most recent and deadliest attack, 54 Ugandan peacekeepers were killed in late May when al-Shabaab militants launched an assault on an ATMIS base in Buulo Mareer, not very far from Qoryoley.
Al-Shabaab continues to demonstrate an apparent abundance of manpower, as frequent losses from U.S. air strikes and clashes with ATMIS forces have failed to deter the group’s actions against both civilian and military targets.