In a brazen assault on Saturday, the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack at the General Gordon Military Base in Mogadishu, Somalia, which resulted in the deaths of three Emirati troops and a Bahraini military officer.
The attack, targeting troops on a training mission, has raised concerns about the security situation in the region and highlighted the ongoing threat posed by extremist groups like Al-Shabab.
Details surrounding the attack remained scarce on Sunday, with authorities yet to confirm the extent of casualties beyond those reported. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud expressed condolences to the UAE for the loss of its troops, underscoring the severity of the incident.
The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency confirmed the deaths of the Emirati troops and the Bahraini soldier, labelling the attack as a “terrorist act.” The agency reported that two others were wounded in the assault. Bahrain, however, did not immediately acknowledge the attack.
Al-Shabab, in a statement posted online, claimed responsibility for the attack, alleging that it targeted individuals involved in the Emirati military effort.
The militant group denounced the UAE’s support for the Somali government, viewing it as contrary to Islamic Shariah law and designating the UAE as an “enemy” in its struggle.
The attack underscores the persistent threat posed by Al-Shabab in Somalia and neighbouring countries.
Born out of Somalia’s civil war in 1991, the extremist Islamist group has continued to pose a significant challenge to the Western-backed government in Mogadishu.
Despite being pushed out of the capital by an African Union-led force, Al-Shabab has maintained its militant activities, seeking to overthrow the government and impose its interpretation of Shariah law.
In addition to attacks in Somalia, Al-Shabab has targeted neighbouring Kenya, where it views the presence of Kenyan troops as part of the African Union force as a legitimate target.
The group’s activities have contributed to regional instability and raised concerns among Gulf states, particularly the UAE, which has strategic interests in the Horn of Africa.
The UAE’s involvement in Somalia extends beyond military assistance, with significant investments in ports in the region, including in the breakaway Somaliland region.
These investments align with the UAE’s broader security concerns in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, where piracy and other maritime threats persist.
The attack on Saturday serves as a stark reminder of the complex security challenges facing Somalia and the broader region.
Despite efforts to combat extremist groups like Al-Shabab, the group’s ability to carry out deadly attacks underscores the need for continued vigilance and international cooperation to address the root causes of extremism and promote stability in the region.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members