Al-Shabaab leaders in Somalia have admitted publicly to defeats in Somalia. In 2012, the group has been driven out of almost all major cities it held in Somalia. Security forces coming from Kenya and the African Union have been very successful on the conventional battlefield. This has caused the group to commit acts of terror off the battlefield, often targeting Christian targets in Kenya. In the past year, churches have been the targets of bomb attacks, one of which resulted in the death of children attending Sunday school.
12/19/2012 Somalia (Sabahi) – Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane has admitted publicly that his group’s fighters have been defeated in a series of recent battles in Somalia.
“This year comes as the crusade against Islamic rule in Somalia has been mounting and the crusader enemy has intensified its military, security, political and media capabilities to dim the light of sharia and defeat Islamic rule,” he said in an audio message released Tuesday (December 11th) by al-Kataib Foundation, al-Shabaab’s media centre, and other websites affiliated with the group.
Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu al-Zubair, announced that al-Shabaab will resort to guerrilla tactics. “I would like to tell the Islamic nation and its elite mujahideen, particularly Mullah Omar and Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri […] that the military might of the mujahideen in Somalia is strong and that they are waging a holy jihad that relies on raids and ambushes to create a state of instability for the enemy in the areas they control,” he said.
Godane’s message came two days after his fighters fled the city of Jowhar, the largest city remaining under their control, as soldiers from the Somali National Army and the African Union Mission in Somalia approached. Jowhar, capital of the Middle Shabelle region, is one of many regional capitals captured by government-allied forces in the past year, including Kismayo, Marka, Beledweyne, Baidoa and Hudur.
Retired Colonel Omar Mohamed, an adviser to the Somali army, said Godane’s announcement that his group is moving towards guerrilla warfare and ambush techniques indicates al-Shabaab’s increasing weakness.
“Godane’s message reveals the total collapse from which the group is suffering, as well as the state of despair that afflicts its criminal members,” he told Sabahi. “What he is trying to do is boost the morale of his frustrated fighters.”
“If we look at the timing of this message, it comes when al-Shabaab is under siege from all directions and is suffering huge losses day after day as a result of the painful blows they have been dealt at the hands of the national army and its allies,” he said. “Members of the al-Shabaab militia are living in a state of desperation and weakness as they are unable to escape the tightening grip of the national armed forces.”
Mohamed said al-Shabaab fighters have no other option but to lay down their weapons and surrender to the government. “They are fleeing the large cities and taking refuge in rural areas that are relatively far away from the allied forces’ movement, but they are unable to find a safe haven anywhere in the country.”