Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 6.26.24

AU forces in Somalia. (Image: Atmis)

AU Forces Hands El Gelow Military Base to Somalia Troops

The Somali National Army has taken control of El Gelow military base from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis) as the AU’s third drawdown phase continues.  

A brief ceremony was held at the camp in the Middle Shabelle region attended by the Commander of Regiment 3 of the Somali National Army, Ibrahim Yusuf, the Deputy Commander of Regiment 25 of Omar Binu Khadab, Abdikadir Ahmed Ali, and officers from ATMIS.

“The successful handover of FOBs for Phases 1, 2 and 3 demonstrates the readiness of Somali forces to take charge of their security landscape,” Atmis said in a statement on X.

Atmis said entrusting security responsibilities to owned forces strengthens Somalia’s capacity to safeguard its people and contributes to lasting stability. 

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) has called for a phased approach to the withdrawal of peacekeepers to avoid a potential security vacuum.

“The AUPSC notes that the exit of Atmis needs to be carefully harmonized with the follow-on mission that replaces it, including the harmonization of Troop Contribution Countries (TCCs), to ensure that there is no security gap between December 31 and January 1, 2025,” AUPSC said in it a communique released Saturday.

In the first two phases, some 5,000 Atmis soldiers left the country and handed over at least 12 bases to the Somali forces.

Al-Shabab Execute Clan Militia

Al-Shabab killed a man in El Bur town, accusing him of being a member of clan militias fighting alongside government forces. 

According to the Calamada news website, the man was captured in Galguduud, and the al-Shabab court sentenced him to death.   

The group said the man was a member of the clan militias based in the Guricel district, where al-Shabab has come under attack from the government forces and militias. 

The execution of the man on Tuesday brought out hundreds of residents to witness the killing. 

Al-Shabab Claims Killing 3 Ethiopian Soldiers 

At least three Ethiopian troops were killed in an al-Shabab attack in the Bay region.

Al-Shabab said its fighters targeted the Ethiopia military base in the town of Dinsor.

On Saturday, al-Shabab said it killed three Burundian soldiers in a bomb attack in the Middle Shabelle region.

The al-Qaida-linked insurgent group claims attacks against African Union forces operating in the country.

Somali Forces Kill 30 al-Shabab Militants

The spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of Somalia said that in an operation between Osweyne and Masagaway, approximately 30 Al-Shabaab members were killed, dozens were injured, and a military vehicle belonging to the militia was destroyed. 

The spokesman also said that a joint operation between the local people and Somali national army led to the arrest of an Al-Shabaab leader, a Yemeni national who had been with the militia for the last 16 years and was trying to travel to Yemen through the coastal town of Mareg. He is now in government custody and will be brought before the court.

Somali Forces Continue With Operations in Central regions 

The Commander of Regiment 24 of the Somali National Army, Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Dhegaweyne, told Somali National Television that, with the help of local forces, they carried out a coordinated operation in four directions as planned.

“A final operation carried out by the national and local forces in the Ali-Adhole area, 33 km north of Eldheer district in the Galgaduud region, killed seven members of the Al-Shabaab militia and captured weapons and military equipment,” he said.

” The army discovered that the group was hiding in the area of the attack, and we were able to eliminate their hiding places.”

Meanwhile in the town of Qoryooley in Lower Shabelle, a clan war has been ongoing for three days between local militias. 

The conflict is based on control of the city by two clans. District hospitals have been treating injuries of both tribal militias and local residents. The federal government and the regional government have not yet issued any statements or taken action regarding this war.