Al-Shabaab militants launch raids on Kenyan military bases in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants on Monday raided Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] bases in war-torn Somalia, in yet another attempt to destabilize concrete measures put so far to restore peace and stability within the Horn of Africa nation, which has been in turmoil for several decades.
The country last held a legitimate election in 1969 after which a military coup took place, further causing chaos in as many years. However, since the dethronement of military ruler Siad Barre in 1991, the country has been engulfed in inter-clan conflicts and violent extremism.
Military sources said the militants raided Qoqani and Abdalla-Birole Forward Operating Bases which are controlled by KDF in Jubaland, triggering a heavy gunfight that lasted for several hours. This is the third time Al-Shabaab was tempting to raid the bases within this year alone.
Also, the militants tried to attack some bases belonging to Jubaland security forces within the two towns, forcing the KDF to intervene. The Jubaland security forces often receive sophisticated training from the Kenya Defense Forces, a key ally of the Jubaland administration.
Residents said the fighting lasted for several hours before Al-Shabaab militants took off to the nearby villages. The KDF team is currently pursuing the militants in the Lower Jubba region where the two sides have been battling for control in as many years, ever since the Kenyan military invaded Somalia.
Until now, none of the two sides has reported casualties but it's believed that the Al-Shabaab suffered heavy losses in the latest encounter. The militants have been losing key strongholds in central and southern Somalia following the multi-agency military operations which have been going on for several months now.
The KDF team controls Sectors II and VI of AMISOM within Jubaland and it has recorded significant gains including but not limited to seizing Kismayo, a former Al-Shabaab stronghold. But in the process, the team has also suffered casualties, for instance, massive losses in El-Adde within the Gedo region.
Kenya has close to 3,500 soldiers in Somalia who work closely with the Somali National Army [SNA]. The troops might pull out by December 2021 once the Somali Transition Plan [STP] is fully implemented by the African Union Mission in Somalia, which is responsible for peacekeeping operations.