Forecast – Ramadan Offensive 2019

Based on recently observed movements by the militants and other security-related long- and short-term developments within Somalia, several potential hotspots for activity and likely scenarios have been identified:

  • Mogadishu – Key government institutions, such as Villa Somalia, the Parliament building and the Ministry of Defense as well as prominent civilian structures – such as hotels and restaurants – have historically been targeted most frequently, while the heavily-fortified Mogadishu International Airport (MIA) complex also remains a potential high-value target. The capital has seen an overall deterioration in terms of security in early 2019, prompting the replacement of a high number of security and local government officials. Accompanied by repeated strikes over salary arrears and infighting by Somali security forces, the militants may have taken advantage of this dynamic to further increase their logistical preparations for high-impact attacks (VBIEDs, complex attacks) in Mogadishu.
  • Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) – African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) bases have been successfully targeted by the militants on several occasions in the past, using a combination of VBIEDs and a coordinated ground assault. Although these attacks have targeted AMISOM FOBs in most regions before, bases in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions manned by Ugandan and Burundian troops are currently assessed to be particularly at risk. In Lower Shabelle, the recent widely-received captures of two settlements – Bariire and Sabiid-Canoole – by security forces has put pressure on the militants to reassert their dominance in their traditional stronghold, while the uncertainty surrounding the partial withdrawal of Burundian AMISOM troops and lingering strikes by Somali National Army (SNA) troops and allied militias in Middle Shabelle region exposes security forces in the region to a heightened threat from al Shabab attacks. Local reports from both regions have repeatedly indicated significant movements by al Shabaab fighters and heavy weaponry over the past month, further strengthening this assessment. AMISOM and SNA forces in the Shabelle regions have reportedly been put on high alert ahead of Ramadan.

SF strongly advises that additional security precautions are observed for the duration of Ramadan during any essential travel within Somalia. Personal security protocols should be reviewed and adapted to reflect the exacerbated threat environment. It is further reminded that some services and goods may not be available over Ramadan, as individuals may travel to their respective home towns to participate in the festivities, particularly during the Eid al Fitr celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan.

The complete report is available for download at the following link:  Forecast – Ramadan Offensive 2019

This report is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this report. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information within the report but Salama Fikira can take no responsibility for inaccuracies of fact or deduction. All images are subject to copyright.