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SNA WIPES OUT 27 AL-SHABAAB MILITANTS, CAPTURES 5 AND THE ADF RAMPAGE IN NORTH KIVU KILLS 11 PEOPLE, SPARKING UN CONCERN

April 14-20, 2024 | Issue 15 - AFRICOM/CENTCOM

Eamon Kobel, Flavie Curnier, Kyle Dillon, Meaghan Mackey

Jessica Wilson, Editor; Brantley Williams, Evan Beachler, Senior Editor


Somali National Army Military Operation[1]


Date:  April 11, 2024

Location: Bar Sangouni Area, Jamame District, Lower Juba, Somalia

Parties involved: Somali government; Somali civilians; Somali military; Somali National Army (SNA); Somalia-based Sunni Islamist military and political organization, al-Shabaab; African Union-led multidimensional mission, African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS)

The event: The SNA has killed approximately 27 members of the Khawarij[2] militia of al-Shabaab and captured five others in response to a planned attack on a military position. This operation is part of ongoing efforts by the SNA,  international allies, and the local population to combat al-Shabaab throughout Somalia. The Somali government has expressed gratitude to locals and international supporters for their assistance.[3] 

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Somali government will likely prioritize state-building and community welfare, likely enhancing its offensive against al-Shabaab. Improving social well-being will likely promote support for the government, very likely increase cooperation with Somali citizens to fight against al-Shabaab through community cohesion, and likely expand human intelligence sources among civilians in both government territory and al-Shabaab areas of influence. Community empowerment will likely reduce the rate of radicalization and recruitment by al-Shabaab, likely lessening their ideological influence in the country.

  • Al-Shabaab will likely retaliate against civilians supporting the Somali government's actions. This reprisal will likely deter civilians from supporting a governmental offensive against al-Shabaab. Civilian-targeted attacks will likely limit prospering governmental-communal relations, likely challenging public trust, which will likely lessen support for political decisions made by the Somali government. There is a roughly even chance that al-Shabaab will target civilians who assisted the SNA, likely demonstrating the group’s operational capabilities and likely discouraging civilians from engaging in future attacks.

  • Somali government offensive operations will likely slow al-Shabaab’s momentum, likely forcing the group to adapt. The Somali government will likely increase security in turbulent administrative regions in the south, likely to limit al-Shabaabs' exploitation of power vacuums and the effectiveness of future attacks. Al-Shabaab will likely need to expand its recruitment operations and increase areas of operations to strengthen its regional threat. There is a roughly even chance that al-Shabaab will increase variation in its attacks, likely to include more suicide bombings and armed assaults, very likely overwhelming Somali armed forces.


Date: April 13, 2024

Location: Mulekera Commune, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo

Parties involved: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC); Uganda; Islamist rebel group in Uganda and the DRC, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF); ISIS Central Africa Province; Eastern African Community (EAC); South African Development Community (SADC); UN; The United Nations Organization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)  

The event: The ADF attacked several villages on Saturday in North Kivu Province, killing 11 people, looting belongings, and setting vehicles on fire. The UN previously announced that around 200 people had died this year in the North Kivu Province attributed to the conflict.[4] In 2019, ISIS established the affiliate ISIS Central Africa Province, including the ADF.[5] 

Analysis & Implications:

  • The recent attack by the ADF will very likely heighten security efforts within the DRC by the FARDC, likely increasing surveillance and operational responses. Advanced surveillance, such as drones and electronic monitoring, will very likely provide coverage of high-risk areas. This enhancement will very likely improve the rapid response team, likely equipping them with the necessary information to respond swiftly. It will likely anticipate future insurgent activities, which will very likely reduce the threats to civilians and critical infrastructure.

  • The ADF will very likely continue to conduct attacks and recruit locals across the region of Kivu. This continuation is likely due to the increasing security vacuums caused by the withdrawal of EAC and MONUSCO troops. To demonstrate its strength, the ADF will likely employ armed attacks, kidnappings, looting, and ransom against the civilian population. ADF will likely exploit the possibility of diminishing resources, such as reduced surveillance, a weakened local government, and distrust in institutions to radicalize the local populace.  

  • This attack will likely encourage the DRC, Uganda, and the SADC to coordinate military operations to secure the border region. These actors will likely need to balance forces between border crossings and villages to prevent overstretching logistics. Joint operations will likely require intelligence sharing and information dissemination to successfully combat the ADF regrouping and resupplying in the region successfully. Successful joint operations against the ADF will likely increase the legitimacy of regional military forces, very likely demonstrating the effectiveness of their strategic and logistical cooperation. 

 

[1] Military operation, generated by a third party database

[2] The Somali government directed journalists to replace the word "al-Shabab" with "khawarij," which means "a deviation from Islam.", VOA, November 2022https://www.voanews.com/amp/somali-media-say-new-directive-puts-them-at-risk/6827617.html

[3] The Somali government said that 27 Al-Shabaab had been killed in an operation, Shabelle Network, April 2024,

[4] Islamic State-linked attackers kill at least 11 people and torch vehicles in eastern Congo, ABC News, April 2024, https://abcnews.go.com/amp/International/wireStory/islamic-state-linked-attackers-kill-11-people-torch-109234120

[5] As ISIS affiliate expands in central Africa, escapees recount horrors, The Washington Post, August 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/08/12/congo-uganda-adf-isis/

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