The massive raid comes as Shabaab is facing its biggest challenge to its rule and territory in over a decade.
Shabaab faces one of the largest counter-offensives against it in recent years. However, to be successful, Somalia must also work to effectively hold liberated areas and not just conduct clearing operations.
Shabaab claims it killed 173 Burundian troops in a large-scale assault on a military base in southern Somalia. Neither the African Union nor Burundi has commented on Shabaab’s casualty numbers.
Shabaab has managed to launch 418 attacks of different types during the six-month timeframe in support of its persistent and ongoing insurgency against Somalia’s weak central government and allied African Union forces.
The jihadist group claims the bombing, and last week’s bombing at the G5 Sahel base in central Mali, were messages to warn France and its allies about the “costs” of being in Mali.
Shabaab has claimed a number of attacks in recent days across southern Somalia, including briefly recapturing the strategic town of Balad just north of Mogadishu.
Over the past two weeks, African Union forces withdrew from the southern Somali towns of Marka, El Ade, and Badhadhe. Al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia quickly reoccupied the towns.
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