Al-Shabaab militants launched twin attacks on military bases in Lower Shabelle region on Wednesday, February 19, leaving at least 12 soldiers dead. The first attack took place at 02:00 (local time) when a suicide bomber detonated at el-Salini base. Gunmen followed, taking weapons and ammunition, before being driven out by reinforcements.
The second attack took place at approximately 05:00 at Qoryooley base when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated on the bridge leading into the base. Part of the bridge was reportedly destroyed, but Somali and African Union peacekeeping forces were able to repel the attack.
Similar Al-Shabaab attacks are possible in Lower Shabelle region over the near term.
Al-Shabaab continues to exercise effective control over large zones in the south and center of Somalia and attacks from the group are frequent across the country, including in Mogadishu. The group often targets government officials and military infrastructure in a bid to topple the West- and UN-backed government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam in Somalia.
Individuals in Somalia are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Somalia remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.