By Dalmar 21 June 2023
BARDHERE, JUBBALAND – In a grimly coordinated assault, twin bombings were executed on an African Union peacekeeping base near the Bardhere airport, an alarming development in a region grappling with escalating violence.
The attacks, reported to have occurred at approximately 11:30 AM, were orchestrated by the Al-Shabaab militant group, intensifying the challenges faced by security forces in their ongoing counter-terrorism operations.
The first wave of the assault involved a suicide bomber in what is believed to be a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED), targeting the base occupied by the African Union Transition Mission (ATMIS), known locally as the ADC. This initial blast was intended to inflict direct harm, but it also served a more insidious purpose: it was the bait.
Security forces and local district officials rushed to the scene, their priority to aid those injured in the initial blast. It was then that the second bomber struck, unleashing another wave of chaos and destruction in a calculated strategy designed to compound the tragedy and exploit the first responders’ humanity.
Although the exact number of casualties remains unclear, the pattern of these assaults suggests a high probability of significant losses, given the strategic timing and placement of the second explosion.
Rumors have emerged that the targeted ADC base was used as a training facility for the administration’s forces intended to combat Al-Shabaab. This, if true, would indicate a worrying level of intelligence on the part of the terrorists about their adversaries’ operations.
Confirming their role in this devastating attack, Al-Shabaab released a statement claiming responsibility, alleging that they had inflicted heavy casualties on Ethiopian troops stationed at the base. The degree of truth in these claims, typically prone to exaggeration, will become clear only as investigations progress.
These twin bombings are a stark reminder of the complexities involved in combating insurgencies. Al-Shabaab’s tactic of a secondary attack aimed at first responders is a harrowing example of the group’s strategic planning, underlining the need for robust and intelligent counter-insurgency strategies. It underscores the continuing threat Al-Shabaab poses, not only to Somalia but to the stability of the Horn of Africa region. It is a sobering moment, a testament to the dangerous landscape within which the peacekeeping forces operate, and a reminder of the high stakes in the ongoing battle against extremism.