One should ask how a terror group estimated to be a few hundred gangs with no artillery back up, can overrun a military base belonging to a presumably conventional army with high tech military hardware and air support from back home that can reach the battle field in 50 minutes. There must be a human factor that contributed the outcome. The human quality remains to be the prime factor that can bring either victory or defeat in the battle.
First, let me say little about the area where the attack happened “EL-ADDE”. El-Adde is a remote village located in the middle of Gedo region. A region that has notoriously been hosting a very considerable number of former experienced military officials of Siad Barre regime. A region that its people are largely mobilized for military purposes than other social-economic activities. It is the second largest and the six most populous region in Somalia.
Kenya had sent its forces in Somalia claiming it is there to fighting against Al-Shabaab and help the Federal Government of Somalia to stabilize the country and extend its control over the southern regions. But many believe that Kenya has undeclared aims including annexation of 200 nautical miles of the Somali territorial water that is deemed to be rich in natural resources namely fish, Oil and Gus. The Federal Government of Somalia initially opposed the Kenyan military intervention into the country and its proxy local Raskamboni Militia led by Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe. It had even championed for the UN Security Council not to approve IGAD request backed by Kenya of a marine time component for AMISOM. The then Somali Foreign Minister Hon. Fawsia Yusuf Haji Adam attended the UN Security Council meeting on the case and precisely asked the council to reconsider the issue on its table.
The Jubaland State formation process had experienced a huge influence from Kenya and IGAD of which its Executive Secretary is Kenyan diplomat. Again, IGAD Somali Peace Facilitation Unit are mistakenly headed by former Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia Amb. Mohamed Abdi Afey, whose Deputy is far more disgrace to be IGAD Peace Facilitator for Somalia – the controversial Ethiopian Military-Intelligence Colonel know as General Gabre. How can such people bring peace to Somalia? I am sure they are working on the contrary. I wonder why the Government of Somalia accepted such people to be in Somalia as diplomats.
In 2013 Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe was declared to be the elected leader of Jubaland State though seemingly proper elections were not held. After the selection of Madobe, the previously allied militias fighting against Alshabab had splintered into two fronts. One mainly composed of Ogaden and other front mainly made up of Marehans whom were later forced to get out of Kismayo after three days of fighting that resulted massive casualties on both sides. Kenyan Forces were allegedly said to have directly involved in that fight, and that is why KDF is not welcomed in the vast geographical area of Jubaland dominated by Marehans.
As the antagonistic situation and local grievances went on for years without been considered either by AMISOM or the Federal Government itself as a natural body, the Al-Shabaab took that opportunity to influence the locals and win their hearts and minds to support the struggle or at least give space to KDF. However, this does not mean that Marehans are allied with Al-Shabaab. Marehans had since then fought against Al-Shabaab and with the support of AMISOM pushed Alshabab out of almost all administrative districts of Gedo region, as Bardera was the last district captured from Al-Shabaab. Again, Al-Shabaab’s recent attack at KDF base in El-Adde proved the fact that Kenyan forces are operating in a very hostile environment where they are seen as an occupying Foreign Force rather than a Peace Keeping Mission. The spokesman of KDF had initially said that SNA camp was first attacked and KDF in support of SNA engaged a counter attack but this has not been the case as SNA has no camp in El-Adde as to the moment the attack happened since the Somali Forces previously stationed in El-Adde already moved to Bardera earlier in 2015.
Marehan militia in Gedo and Juba regions are generally regarded as SNA forces in southern regions though the Federal Government had never practically succeeded to fully re-integrate all clan and regional militias into the National Army. They also consider themselves to be the sole guardian of the country’s southern borders from any external threat to the independence of Somalia.
By the way, the Regional Governments should come to the reality on the ground and come up with a sincere commitment to cooperate with each other at this crucial moment for the Horn of Africa or face greater consequence of human loss and economic destruction since the terror group will spare no efforts to destabilize the region and beyond.