Al-Shabab attacks against African Union peacekeepers and Somali government forces could worsen as troops try to reopen Somalia’s main supply roads, currently cut off by the militants, a spokesman for the peacekeepers warns.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilson Rono said the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops and Somali National Army forces are trying to reopen the highway linking the capital, Mogadishu, to Baidoa, 240 kilometers (150 miles) to the west. It’s one of three main roads linking Mogadishu the south, southwest and central regions.
Rono spoke to VOA’s Somali service this week after al-Shabab militants ambushed an AMISOM supply convoy about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 10 soldiers and destroying most of the 20 trucks. It was the latest of many deadly attacks the militant group has waged against the AU forces.
Al-Shabab was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 and in following years lost control of almost all the country’s major towns. It had to resort to “difficult” guerrilla tactics, Rono said.
Rono said AMISOM soldiers repulsed another al-Shabab ambush Friday near the town of Fafahdhun in Somalia’s Gedo region.
He said the soldiers killed 23 Al-Shabab fighters. Mohamed Hussein al-Qadi, the district’s deputy governor, put the Shabab death toll at five.
“We learn from each incident,” Rono said. “But the nature of the asymmetrical warfare and fighting of insurgency makes you certain that this kind of thing will happen” again.