30 June 2023
RUUN-NIRGOOD, HIRSHABELLE – In a chilling display of power, Al-Shabaab forces managed a swift takeover of the village of Daarul Nim’a in the Ruun-Nirigood district in the early hours of June 30, 2023. In the dead of night, they advanced unopposed into the village after Macawisley forces, the incumbent custodians, and local inhabitants vacated, effectively abandoning the village to the insurgents.
Eyewitnesses in the area confirmed the destruction left in Al-Shabaab’s wake: houses set ablaze, a vital water well ruined, and the single village mosque’s steps demolished. These acts of vandalism have the earmarks of Al-Shabaab’s terrorizing tactics, effectively transforming Daarul Nim’a into a desolate ghost town.
This incident followed a tense period marked by mutual abductions between the Macawisley and Al-Shabaab, involving civilians perceived to have affiliations with the opposing side. The exchange culminated in an uneasy truce, with both parties releasing their captives.
However, Al-Shabaab’s occupation of Daarul Nim’a proved brief. By day’s end, the militants had departed, leaving the once bustling village in a state of desolation.
These events underscore the central government’s dwindling control over territories previously liberated from Al-Shabaab. Such recurrent losses further discourage locals from cooperating with governmental forces due to the perceived inability to guarantee security and stability. This lack of public trust threatens to undermine the counter-terrorism efforts, exacerbating Somalia’s precarious security situation.
The national and regional authorities are under increased pressure to respond decisively to this violent incident, one of the many in Al-Shabaab’s persistent insurgency. The trajectory of this conflict, and how it will shape the wider struggle against extremism in Somalia, remains to be seen.