What lies ahead after the latest UN reports claim Al-Shabaab militants have changed tactics to enable more frequent and deadly attacks
"Insurgencies are easy to make and hard to stop. Only a few ingredients need to combine to create an insurgency; like oxygen and fire, they're very common and mix all too often. The recipe is, simply, a legitimate grievance against a state, a state that refuses to compromise, a quorum of angry people, and access to weapons."
- Richard Engel
If the recent reports released by the United Nations are anything to go by, then the deadly Somalia based Islamist group, Al Shabaab, have changed tactics which involve them adopting the manufacture and use of local home-made explosives to enable more frequent and deadly attacks.
The Al Shabaab insurgents have repeatedly carried out a series of attacks in East Africa and successfully launched dozens in Somalia this year alone despite the increase in U.S. airstrikes to curb their activities.
Any attempt by the group to increase their activities will be indeed disastrous for the continent and especially people of East Africa – who seem to be their primary target.
“For the first time, post-blast laboratory analyses … indicate a clear shift in al Shabaab construction methods, away from the use of military-grade explosives and towards HME (home-made explosives,” said a confidential report by the U.N. panel of experts on Somalia, which was seen by Reuters.
“Information from a range of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) experts suggests a probable connection between the development of HME by al Shabaab and the recent increased frequency of major attacks in Mogadishu.”
According to the United Nations, the reports were released after a critical professional analysis of at least 20 attacks carried out by the deadly Islamist group since July 2018.
Reuters claims that the report did not specify who carried out the analysis, but footnotes cited the U.N. Mine Action Service, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and experts who were not named but only identified by the dates on which they were interviewed.
However, it appears that the report is to be treated as top secret in order not to expose the countermeasures to be implemented by the United Nations. This was made evident in the actions by the U.N. panel, who decided not to comment on the report or officially brief the media.
Further news reports also claimed that Lt Col Charles Imbiakha, spokesman for the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, said he would not be able to comment because he had not seen or studied the report.
The Al Shabaab militants are fighting to gain control and rule Somalia in line with a strict interpretation of Sharia law. They have carried out more than 19 attacks with vehicle-borne bombs that have killed many people and destroyed properties worth millions.
Header Image Credit: Council on Foreign Relations
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