Shabaab attacks international hub in Mogadishu where U.S. Embassy is located

On Wednesday, Al Shabaab conducted an attack against Halane camp near Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu. The camp houses the U.S. embassy, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the headquarters for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and most foreign diplomats based in Mogadishu. 

In the assault, two gunmen disguised as airport workers attempted to breach the base’s gates where they were confronted by security forces. These Shabaab gunmen, armed with small arms and hand grenades, reportedly killed six security forces, including five AMISOM peacekeepers and trainers, and injured an additional three police officers. 

In a statement by spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab, Shabaab claimed credit for the attack, asserting that their militants broke through checkpoints, shot multiple foreign AMISOM troops, and set fire to buildings within the base.

The group also claimed to have fired mortars into the base, targeting AMISOM buildings. The Al Qaeda affiliate claimed that the attack targeted international troops in an effort to drive them from Somalia. Shabaab has long opposed the presence of foreign troops in the country and sees their withdrawal as a precondition for taking control of the country, much like the Taliban’s stance in Afghanistan. 

Somali security forces reported that the two militants were killed and that the attack was thwarted. However, Shabaab’s ability to inflict casualties on foreign troops within the well-defended Halane military base with only two gunmen is certainly cause for concern for the future of Somalia’s security. This attack in Mogadishu follows Shabaab’s major assaults last month across the city, demonstrating the group’s continued willingness and ability to strike secure points across the Somali capital.

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