This morning, al-Shabaab launched an attack on Nur Dugle village in Middle Shabelle. The tense situation unfolded approximately 15 kilometres southeast of the Ruun-Nirgood district. Both al-Shabaab and government forces reported the attack but differed on its outcome.
Nur Dugle, Middle Shabelle, HirShabelle, SOMALIA. By Jama:
Al-Shabaab, an Islamist extremist group with a history of violence in the region, claimed it successfully seized control of Nur Dugle following a brief but intense fight with government troops. The Islamists asserted to have inflicted casualties on government forces but refrained from specifying numbers.
“The Mujahideen forces attacked the apostate [al-Shabaab’s pejorative term for the Somali Security Forces] settlement in the [Nur Dugle] area. They are in full control of the area now. The apostate militias have dispersed towards the coast. Their bodies are scattered around the place. The Mujahideen forces also captured soldiers alive in this attack,” declared an al-Shabaab reporter, underlining the group’s claim of dominance.
However, the government troops’ version of events starkly contradicts the al-Shabaab’s narrative. According to a soldier who spoke with the Somali Digest, the troops were well-prepared for the morning assault and successfully defended themselves. The soldier added, “The fighting was limited to one corner of the town, and al-Shabaab never managed to penetrate the city.”
The war of information
These contradicting statements present a traditional challenge for journalism in Somalia. Historically, both sides of the conflict between al-Shabaab and government forces used to report misleading information. Whereas one would ‘expect’ it from the terrorists, frequent misinforming from the Somali government institutions is disappointing and erroneous. Journalists often rely on witness accounts from the concerned areas, which in small villages like Nur Dugle becomes nearly impossible to get.
Nonetheless, the attack on Nur Dugle is undeniably a cause for concern. The incident serves as a reminder of the region’s ongoing security challenges and the looming threat al-Shabaab continues to pose.