Afmadow, Jubaland, Somalia –
In the aftermath of military operations in Afmadow and nearby villages, al-Shabaab launched a deadly ambush resulting in the loss of Danab special force members. The ambush occurred near Weel Maro, located on the outskirts of Afmadow, Jubaland.
The ambush began with the detonation of a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED). Subsequently, the militants directly attacked the convoy of Somali National Army’s (SNA) Danab soldiers. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting that they killed 38 soldiers and injured numerous others.
“The coalition convoy came under attack after a self-sacrifice of one of our mujahideen, followed by a direct confrontation that forced the Danab force and their allies to disperse and retreat from the areas they had reached,” says al-Shabaab’s military spokesperson, Abu Mus’ab, further mentioning that ten vehicles were set ablaze during the incident, while four managed to escape from the scene.
Earlier counterterrorism operations
The ambush takes place amidst a period of intense fighting between al-Shabaab and their adversaries in the Afmadow district.
Days earlier, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), U.S. Africa Command, and local Jubaland forces conducted extensive joint operations targeting al-Shabaab militants in the Afmadow district. According to a press release, the SNA and Jubaland forces, with support from “international partners”, successfully neutralized 40 al-Shabaab fighters during these operations.
U.S. Africa command also informed about the joint operation. “At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted three collective self-defense airstrikes overnight in a remote area near Afmadow, approximately 105 kilometers north of Kismayo, against al-Shabaab terrorists.”
What is the Danab force?
The Danab Brigade is a well-trained commando force within the Somali National Army (SNA). The force has been instrumental in a recently-launched offensive against al-Shabaab, leading to the liberation of numerous towns and villages in mostly central Somalia. The elite troops are funded and trained by the United States, and their contributions have played a central role in the broader efforts to counter the influence of al-Shabaab.