Clan Militias; in the month of November, Al Shabaab remains a strong regional actor amid ongoing Somali government operations. The government continues to receive huge support from internal and external actors in the fight against Al Shabaab. The support of the clans has been absolutely important helping the government to quickly seize territories initially controlled by the terror group. The clans especially in the Central Somalia have effectively mobilized militias and deployed in support of the government operations. However, the government has struggled to coordinate mobilization and facilitation of the clan militias to counter Al Shabaab. Al Shabaab is likely exploiting divisions amongst the marginalized sections of the clans for counterattack operations and organizing of alarming massacres especially in the capital Mogadishu. The group has prioritized the capture of the Presidential Villa and the Airport but the government security forces have thwarted the plans though with sometimes high profile casualties such as the suicide attack at the Villa Rose Hotel.

Civilian Casualties; following increased siege from the government counterterror operations, Al Shabaab has increasingly targeted civilians. There is a rise in the number of civilian casualties especially from improvised explosive devices from Al Shabaab. The government forces and clan militias also account for a certain percentage of civilian casualties. The high number of civilian casualties has exasperated the human rights and humanitarian situation in the country.[1]

Liberated Territories; Somali Government has continued to liberate villages around the Hiraan and Shabelle regions in Central Somalia with the help of local clan militias and African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), whose mandate was extended.[2] Key territories liberated from Al Shabaab control include Wabho village in the Galgadud region and Warhoolo, between El buur and Guriel towns controlled by Al Shabaab for over 15 years.[3] The Prime Minister’s office has put the total count of areas liberated from Al Shabaab control at 68 since the beginning of the ‘total war.’[4]

Attacks; the attacks from Al Shabaab focused on Somali military installations most of the time until towards the end of November when the group stormed Hotel Villa Rose in Mogadishu targeting civilian government employees. Previous known tactics of the group were employed combining suicide bombing and gun attacks on the targets. The security response was enough to prevent high civilian casualties compared to other incidences in high civilian places in Mogadishu. The security agencies were largely successful in repulsing attacks aimed at military barracks and infantry training facilities. The Somali Army was reportedly successful in defeating Al Shabaab attacks targeting Beledweyne military facility in Hiraan region, Qayib in central Galgaduud region, Baidoa in the Bay region, Xero Nacnac training camp for army recruits among others.[5] Majority of the attacks involved an element of suicide bombs and gun battles.

Operations; the Somali Government continued with earnest the ‘total war’ against Al Shabaab. The military launched lethal operations supported by the Intelligence Agency including airstrikes that inflicted heavy casualties to the terror group. The casualties reported by the government went as far as exceeding one hundred battle deaths of Al Shabaab militants in a single operation.[6] The government intends to sustain the momentum and significantly degrade the threat of Al Shabaab. It has intensified lobbying of allies and partners for support and investment like the successful lobbying of the African Union Peace and Security Council to extend the mandate of the African Transition Mission in Somalia. The withdrawal of the mission was most likely going to have negative consequences on the ongoing war on Al Shabaab.

[1] United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, “Somalia: Türk Decries Steep Rise in Civilian Casualties amid Surge in Al-Shabaab Attacks,” OHCHR, November 14, 2022,

[2] The East African, “African Union to Delay Atmis Withdrawal from Somalia,” The East African, November 24, 2022,

[3] Shmuel Yosef Agnon, “Two Strategic Villages Warholo, Wabho in Central Somalia Liberated from Al-Shabaab in Joint Military Ops – Strategic Intelligence Service,” Strategic Intelligence (SI), November 10, 2022,

[4] Mohammed Dhaysane, “Somali Army Thwarts Al-Shabab Attack on Military Base,” Anadolu Agency, November 25, 2022,

[5] Mohamed Dhaysane, “Somali Military: Soldiers Repel Al-Shabab Attack,” Voice of America, VOA, November 11, 2022,

[6] Mohammed Dhaysane, “Somalia Claims to Kill over 100 Al-Shabaab Terrorists in Single Operation,” Anadolu Agency, May 11, 2022,

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