According to information released by the Presidential palace, Al Shabaab has been cleared away from strategic coastal areas. The group now occupies some interior remote positions in the central region opening up the transportation routes, especially to the Capital Mogadishu. This is in anticipation of the second phase of the military operations that will involve troops from frontier countries focused on dealing a blow to Al Shabaab in Jubaland and South West regions. The first phase of military operations is credited for liberating territories in HirShabelle and Galmudug regions.  The success of the second phase of military operations against Al Shabaab will be critical in ushering in a smooth ATMIS handover of security and stabilization responsibilities to Somalia by December 2024 as agreed during the troop-contributing countries summit in Kampala Uganda. ATMIS will implement a staggered withdrawal that will prioritize the strengthening of Somali security forces including possible lobbying of the UN Security Council for lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia.  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a rare visit to the country to experience first-hand the security and humanitarian situation.
Al Shabaab continues to carry out minimal attacks toward Somali security forces and regional ATMIS forces. The scale and intensity of the attacks have largely diminished with some planned attacks repulsed with limited casualties. However, Al Shabaab is feared to capitalize on the current period of relative decline in government multi-pronged offensive operations to regroup, strategize and renew the offensive against the government and civilians.  The slowdown in government offensive operations is linked to sophisticated planning and preparations for a second and possible final onslaught to defeat Al Shabaab. Significant attention from the government has also gone into the reconstruction and stabilization of liberated areas with the help of international partners. Al Shabaab has allegedly called for order amongst its ranks, Mahad Karate is punishing alleged indecent behavior by arrests and assassinations to generally ensure the group’s cohesion. Tactical and decoy withdrawals have enabled the group to expose gaps in the government’s operations plan to launch counterattacks in an effort to regain control of some territories held by the government.
 Villa Somalia [@TheVillaSomalia], “Highlights of President Hassan Sheikh’s Remarks at the 1st of May Town Hall Meeting Https://T.Co/7FSRZFUqdC,” Tweet, Twitter, May 3, 2023, https://twitter.com/TheVillaSomalia/status/1653826877620928512.
 Villa Somalia [@TheVillaSomalia], “Summit of Troop Contributing Countries to ATMIS & Federal Republic of Somalia. Https://T.Co/2WEPzH3KzV,” Tweet, Twitter, April 27, 2023, https://twitter.com/TheVillaSomalia/status/1651630680944648194.
 Critical Threats [@criticalthreats], “@liam_karr: He Somali Federal Government’s Inability to Escalate Multiple Fronts against al #Shabaab Could Allow the Group to Repel Renewed Somali Offensive Operations in Central #Somalia. Https://T.Co/V8ZG9gNEIf,” Tweet, Twitter, April 14, 2023, https://twitter.com/criticalthreats/status/1646961589193527306.
 Abdisalam Guled [@Abdisalamguled], “Alshabab Commander, Fuad Mohamed Khalaf. Speaking at Graduation Ceremony. Said, ‘I Just Came from Bakol, We Don’t Need to Quarrel and Argue with Each Other at This Time’ Https://T.Co/Aj4A91sTYn,” Tweet, Twitter, April 17, 2023, https://twitter.com/Abdisalamguled/status/1648051590673190913.
*The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of Terrorism Analysis Platform.