Goof Gaduud, South West State, Somalia –
Yesterday afternoon, al-Shabaab attacked the strategically important town of Goof Gaduud, located near Baidoa in Somalia’s Bay region. The area, which hosts two military bases, was briefly taken over by the heavily armed al-Shabaab fighters, who allegedly manned the town’s major checkpoints.
The militant group launched a surprise attack on the troops comprising the Somali National Army (SNA) and the South West State Derwish forces. According to our sources, al-Shabaab briefly captured the Goof Gaduud area but reportedly withdrew later, allowing the SNA and Derwish forces to regain control.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, allegedly killing five soldiers and injuring 13 others, destroying two armoured vehicles, and seizing an unspecified number of weapons. “Two explosions by the Mujahideen forces targeted a convoy of 12 vehicles, which came from Baidoa as a backup,” reported al-Shabaab affiliated media.
The statement could not be independently verified, and it should be noted that al-Shabaab often exaggerates its battlefield successes.
This recent fighting showcases the strength of al-Shabaab, coming just two days after the group lifted the embargo they imposed on the city of Baidoa.
Tug of war over Goof Gaduud
Last year in early December, the Somali forces fled the Goof Gaduud base, only to recapture it from al-Shabaab a few days later without a fight when the militants vacated it. Similarly, the insurgent group seized the town about five months ago. Since then, the town has changed hands several times, with the Southwest regional forces consistently regrouping and recapturing the town from the al-Shabaab militia.