Mogadishu, Somalia – Breaking news out of Somalia today as east African terror group al-Shabaab have attacked a United Nations-backed Burundian peace-keeping force assigned to the African Union Mission in Somalia(AMISOM). Local residents are reporting that they could hear intense small arms fire along with explosions at the AMISOM base located in the town of Arbacow just outside of Somalia’s capitol city of Mogadishu. In conjunction with this latest al-Shabaab attack, reports of heavy explosions from Shabaab mortars were heard inside and around the Aden Adde International Airport inside the city limits of Mogadishu as well.
SOFREP was able to speak with a local Somali freelance journalist in an attempt to gain a better picture of how the ground truth on the scene is developing. “They [al-Shabaab] attacked the base in Arbacow with RPGs & machine guns. They [al-Shabaab] always attack this base, almost two to three times a week.” The source continued by reporting that the heaviest fighting lasted for about 50 minutes. When SOFREP asked if the unverified reporting of the AMISOM army base in Arbacow was overrun by al-Shabaab insurgents the source stated that according to residents they spoke with near the base, the Burundian AMISOM troops were still in control of the outpost and that the fighting to repel al-Shabaab there is still on-going at the time of the interview.
SOFREP then asked its source whether Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency’s(NISA) elite U.S. Special Forces trained counter-terrorism unit known as the Gashaan were deployed to Arabcow to support the AMISOM force under siege The source stated “No, this is an AMISOM thing (operation). They normally don’t send troops to help AMISOM when their bases attacked, especially during night-time.”
Somalia’s security officials have placed the city of Mogadishu and its surrounding neighborhoods and town on a region wide lock-down due to al-Shabaab threatening to increase its violent campaign against the Somali government as the country heads into its highly contested presidential elections. Somali National Army, along with NISA security forces have increased their heavily armed presence patrols in the city and especially around the Afisyoni airbase adjacent to the headquarters of AMISOM and NISA within the Mogadishu International Airport compound.
It will be a nerve-wracking 48hours for the people of Mogadishu as al-Shabaab is looking like they will be making good on its threat to destabilized the capital city of Mogadishu and derail the countries presidential elections on Wednesday that many in the country are criticizing as having too much foreign influence and rampant with corruption. This situation still remains fluid and SOFREP will continue to monitor the developments in Somalia as they come in.
— AMISOM (@amisomsomalia) February 7, 2017
Feature Image courtesy of AMISOM