This morning, around 7 am, the militant group al-Shabaab recaptured Oswein after an intense battle with the Somali National Army (SNA) and Ma’awisley militias. The combined forces liberated this village from al-Shabaab earlier this week. Today’s assault began with a suicide attack followed by a ground assault by al-Shabaab militants. Casualties were reportedly high.
Oswein, Galgaduud, Galmudug, SOMALIA. By Jama:
The Somali Digest contacted soldiers in the area, who confirmed that al-Shabaab recaptured Oswein. The person who talked to us on condition of anonymity confirmed that the SNA and allied local forces suffered casualties and lost military hardware, including vehicles, to the enemy. However, the source could not give the exact number of fatalities. Later today, al-Shabaab published photos from the attack, displaying the capture of three government soldiers.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the assault in a press release. They claim to have killed 178 soldiers and injured many others. However, the group often exaggerates its battlefield claims.
“The Mujahideen forces launched a brutal attack on the bases of the apostate militias [al-Shabaab’s pejorative term for the Somali Security Forces] in the Oswein area of the Islamic region of Galgaduud on Saturday morning. The three apostate bases we attacked hosted 1,500 apostate soldiers equipped with a large number of military vehicles. These were part of the war against Islam by the crusaders and the apostates in the eastern part of the Galgaduud region.” The extremists often use the term “crusaders” when referring to foreigners in Somalia.
On the contrary, the government media claimed that the SNA and Ma’awisley foiled the al-Shabaab’s attack after receiving prior intelligence.
“The SNA and Ma’awisley foiled an attack by the Khawarij militia [a derogative term the Somali government officials often use when referring to al-Shabaab] this morning in a recently liberated Oswein. The SNA, which had the information of the Khawarij, fought bravely against al-Shabaab troops equipped with SVBIEDs [suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices],” said the Somali government’s statement.
SNA’s capture of Oswein earlier this week
The situation in Oswein reiterates government forces’ inability to retain captured territories. Astonishingly, the same story happens again and again.
Al-Shabaab fighters fled the Oswein area earlier this week before the advancing SNA troops and local Ma’awisley forces. “Somali National Army, backed by local forces, has officially taken over the Oswein area in the Galgaduud region, which was a stronghold for the al-Shabaab terrorist group. […] The victory is a major blow to al-Shabaab as the army advances to El Buur,” the government media tweeted.
The Somali army captured El Buur yesterday. However, based on the situation in Oswein, it is clear that the government forces will face severe challenges in defending El Buur against al-Shabaab.