In Summary
  • Africom spokesperson says Al-Shabaab has continuously increased its combat capability by seizing heavy weaponry, armoured vehicles, explosives, small arms, ammunition and other supplies.
  • Africom observes that it is imperative for Somali security forces to plug their internal weaknesses, to “keep the pressure on Al-Shabaab to create conditions for further political and economic development”.
  • On December 31, 2019, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a massive car bomb in Somalia capital Mogadishu, that killed 81 people including two Turkish citizens.

Amisom and US Africa Command (Africom), who are security partners in Somalia, have warned that Al-Shabaab have built sufficient resilience and weaponry to keep launching deadly attacks in the country.

On January 5, the terror group attacked a military base in Kenya that hosts American and Kenyan personnel, and killed one soldier and two Department of Defence contractors.

The US government confirmed the base was attacked and that it lost a soldier and two contractors.

The base at Manda Bay Airfield plays a key role in supporting US operations in Somalia, according to Africom.

US INTEREST

In an interview with The EastAfrican, Lt Christina M. Gibson, a spokesperson for Africom, said that US’s interest in Somalia is to deter organisations that are affiliated to the Al-Qaeda and ISIS-Somalia terrorist outfits.

“Somalia remains key to the security environment of East Africa, and its long term stability is important to advancing US interests in the region. US military operations and activities are part of a whole-of-government approach working in support of diplomatic and development efforts," she said.

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