Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Analysis of the Raid at Leego

 On 26th June 2015, Al-Shabaab launched an offensive on AMISOM positions in Leego, Lower Shabelle, with the prime intents of defeating AMISOM troops and capturing the main Forward Operating Base in the area which was manned by over a hundred Burundian soldiers. The incontestable victory of the Jihadists stunned AMISOM and the International Community, and the after-effects rippled across Lower Shabelle with AMISOM abandoning towns in fear of a repeat of what happened in Leego. The least discussed aspect concerning this event is the fact that Al-Shabaab used weapons it had captured from Ethiopian soldiers to storm the base. This fact reveals an unsettling reality that Al-Shabaab is far from being defeated, and that its resilience coupled with pragmatic strategies have enabled it to regain initiative across Southern Somalia.
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This post will analyze the video released by Al-Shabaab - which shows the decimation of an AMISOM base in Leego - with the aim of deriving lessons from the attack, as well as gain a glimpse into the tactical strategies of the Al-Shabaab unit tasked with raiding and destroying AMISOM Military Bases; the Sheikh Abu Zubeyr Battalion. The text of this post will be complemented with photos and video recordings of the attack for the purposes of clarity and confirmation of stated facts.
DISCLAIMER: Strategic Files (SF) acknowledges the inherent Illegitimacy of Terrorism and in so doing, also abhors Illegitimate Violence; and the use of photos and video recordings of the attack to complement the text of this post serves ONLY  to CLARIFY and to provide  PROOFS of EVIDENCE where necessary; AND DOES NOT IN ANY WAY ENDORSE VIOLENCE.
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Al-Shabaab Jihadists soften up AMISOM Defensive Positions using Heavy Gunfire Prior to Overrunning the Base.


Primer
Long wars are characterized by three qualities which determine their duration, intensity and scope; Form of Combat (operations), Strategy, and Ideological Foundations – with Strategy linking Combat to Ideology. A firm and unassailable ideology informs the formulation of a set of strategies which will effect intense and enduring combat operations capable of defeating an enemy, or exhausting an adversary through a long war into finally abandoning military campaigns.
Ideology and Legitimization of Violence.
Al-Shabaab has repeatedly cast itself as the defender of the lives, rights and aspirations of the Muslim Populace[1] in Somalia[2] and Kenya[3]; besides assigning themselves the responsibility of safeguarding and defending the honor of Islam and Muslims[4] (albeit, according to its own interpretations and exegeses)[5] – elements which feature prominently in its audiovisual release entitled Avenging the Honor of Our Prophet- Storming the Burundian Crusaders’ Base Leego – Lower Shabelle,[6] which shows the decimation of an AMISOM Military Base in Leego, Lower Shabelle. This video serves to rationalize and legitimize the insurrectionary campaign that Al-Shabaab is presently conducting in Somalia as well as serve as a propaganda piece to demoralize AMISOM forces, besides alluring Somali civilians to join their cause.
In June 2015, Al-Shabaab conducted a series of bold and devastating offensives against AMISOM forces which left over 150 AU (African Union) troops’ dead across the battlefields of Somalia; alongside another 6 dead Kenyan soldiers who were killed in Baure area of Lamu[7] County, Kenya. The Climax of AlShabaab’s Ramadhan Offensive[8] was the capture of an AMISOM Forward Operating Base (FOB) near Leego town in Lower Shabelle.
Salient Utilization of OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) Data.
On 7th July 2015, SIF utilized OSINT sources, coupled with appropriate deductions, to reconstruct the events surrounding the Fall of the FOB in Leego to Al-Shabaab; and thereafter published the reconstructed version of events as a post entitled Fall of Leego's AMISOM base – Primer to Al-Shabaab Offensive in South-eastern and Central Somalia.[9] The version of events published by SIF have been authenticated, validated and confirmed to be true by the video of the attack released by Al-Shabaab – though Al-Shabaab omitted showing some noteworthy events; partly to conceal its modus operandi, and partly to protect the population from AMISOM’s retribution. One of the events omitted from the video was the fact that the residents of Leego welcomed and celebrated Al-Shabaab’s victory over AMISOM troops – which reveals that AMISOM lacked (and still lacks) popular support in parts of Southern Somalia.
The attack on Leego was a culmination of a series of occurrences which are discussed below.
Derision (On June 1st, 2015).
On 1st June 2015, President Yoweri Museveni – speaking at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, during Kenya’s Madaraka day – derided Al-Shabaab for lacking the capacity to attack police stations and military bases; and cautioned the jihadists that they were nearing defeat as they could not face off armed security personnel[10]. Earlier on, Museveni had penned down an article in Uganda’s New Vision[11] arguing that Al-Shabaab was all but defeated. SIF assesses that Al-Shabaab interpreted these statements and arguments as a challenge; a Challenge they were ready to take. [On September 1st, 2015; Al-Shabaab jihadists decimated a Ugandan Military Base in Janaale[12] killing an estimated 50 soldiers and capturing scores of troops[13]].
Imprecise Intelligence
The war against Al-Shabaab is qualified by imprecise intelligence provided by the CIA [14](Central Intelligence Agency – America’s Leading Intelligence Agency headquartered in Langley, Virginia), which SIF assesses to have produced erroneous Intelligence reports which consciously downplayed the offensive capabilities of Al-Shabaab as well as lessened the magnitude of the threat it posed to both Somalia and Kenya. This miscalculation was quickly exposed on 11th June 2015 when Al-Shabaab killed over two dozen Ethiopian soldiers in Beledwyne.
A Connected Event – Decimation of an Ethiopian Military Convoy.
In the afternoon of June 11th 2015, Al-Shabaab militants - belonging to the newly formed Sheikh Abu Zubeyr Battalion - ambushed and decimated an Ethiopian military convoy in Beledweyne. In a report published by the Long War Journal[15], the jihadists claimed that they successfully ambushed the convoy, and engaged Ethiopian troops in a fierce battle which culminated with the Ethiopians fleeing the battlefield and abandoning their military hardware after the mujahedeen killed dozens of Ethiopian soldiers. A relief convoy sent to assist the ambushed convoy was also destroyed by Al-Shabaab.  In a prior post published here, SIF assessed that the number of fatalities Al-Shabaab claimed to have afflicted on the Ethiopian Military were exaggerated; as most Ethiopian soldiers fled the battle relatively unhurt - a fact proved right by the video depicting the Fall of Leego where one of the Ethiopian Soldiers who had escaped was killed by Al-Shabaab alongside Burundian soldiers. Most of the weapons captured by Al-Shabaab from the Ethiopian troops during the ambush were put into effective use in storming AMISOM's Forward Operating Base in Leego.
An AU 4 × 4 Toyota Technical Captured by the Mujahideen of Al-Shabaab from Ethiopian Troops. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
 Al-Shabaab displays its Ghaneema (Spoils of War) after destroying an Ethiopian Armoured Convoy. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
Eid-al-Adha Message or a Veiled Threat directed to the Holy See.
On 24th September 2015, Al-Shabaab released a video depicting its raid on the Burundian Military Base located on the outskirts of Leego town. Coincidentally, the day of the release coincided with the Muslim Festival of Eid- al-Adha[16] (Feast to commmmorate the sacrifice of Ishmael); and the Media has interpreted such coincidence as Al-Shabaab’s Eid-al-Adha message to the Muslim Umma and the World at large.
Conspicuously, the video starts with a provocative speech given by Osama bin Laden (the slain former Supreme Leader of Al-Qaeda). Bin Laden expresses his displeasure concerning the “atrocities” perpetrated by Western Nations against non-Combatant Muslims in Muslim-dominated nations, all the while as they (the Occident) “disingenuously” proclaim their convictions (publicly) to espouse tolerance and peace. Next, bin Laden bewails the fact that the offensive Caricatures of the prophet of Islam were published by Western Media, and also accuses the Vatican of actively participating in the act. He interprets such actions as confirmation of War being waged against Islam, and extorts Muslims to avenge the honor of their Prophet using any means possible including sacrificing their lives and wealth. He then notifies non-Muslims that their dishonor of Islam will definitely attract retribution as he says:
“The answer will be what you see, not what you hear”
SIF assesses that this video commenced with Osama’s Speech about the defamation of Islam (and Muslims) by Christians, followed by the pledge that Al-Qaeda would definitely retaliate; for four main reasons:
1.                  To show that Al-Shabaab is integrally rooted in Al-Qaeda, and are ready and capable of fulfilling the pledges made by its slain Emir (albeit posthumously).
2.                  To enflame the passions of steadfast Muslims who revere their prophet, and in so doing, enjoining such Muslims to their cause besides legitimizing their actions.
3.                  Create fissures between Muslims and Christians by depicting Christian leaders (who most Muslims consider to the Roman Catholic Pope and his pontificate) as inherently hostile to Islam; and always conspiring to destroy Islam.
4.                  To serve as a veiled threat to Kenyans that Al-Shabaab intends to attack Pope Francis when he visits Kenya in November 2015. This explains the inclusion of the following statement by Osama bin Laden:
“Then you published these caricatures, which came against the backdrop of a new crusade and which the pope[17] of the Vatican played a major role”
Avenging the Honor of Our Prophet- Storming the Burundian Crusaders’ Base Leego – Lower Shabelle
Snapshot of the Video. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
The high-quality, slick and superbly-edited video is produced by Al-Kataib Media Foundation – the Flagship media arm of Al-Shabaab. The 27 minutes 10 seconds video is compact with its planar encoded format effecting high-resolution visuals and clear audio; though its denuded metadata avails no meaningful clues (in terms of production location and tools used) with regards to forensic analysis. Similarly, the video features split screens, especially towards the end where the screen is split into four unequal sectors with each sector showing a slain AMISOM soldier. Stephen Harley was also able to make out three cameramen in the video[18].
The graphic and thrill-filled video shows the progress of the attack from its commencement, to its termination when the mujahideen retreated to their rural bases with their ghaneema (Spoils of War). Judging from the Arabic script and transliteration used in the video, SIF concludes that the editing was done by a Saudi or an entity well-versed with Hejaz-Arabic.
Prior to the Attack.
After the short provocative speech by Osama bin Laden, the video shows hundreds of masked Al-Shabaab fighters jogging around at an undisclosed training area (which SIF assesses to be in Lower Shabelle).
Hundreds of Al-Shabaab Militants jogging around in Formations. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
The nasheed playing in the background – which is rudely interrupted by a brief speech given by the Slain Sheikh Abu Ramla Mohammed Ahmed Roble (alias Boqolsoon) in his exasperatingly harsh and quick-paced Somali accent - at this instance is Malakna Haza-ud-Dunia Al-Quroon. This nasheed has been featured repeatedly in video released by Al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula, and SIF attests that its inclusion in the video is meant to implicitly confirm Al-Shabaab’s allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
Hundreds of Al-Shabaab Militants training on an Open ground. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
One can also make out an Ural Military Truck – usually used by Ethiopian troops - parked adjacent to the jogging ground.
A Portion of the rear part of an Ural Truck - along with the right rear wheels - can be seen as the Mujahideen jog past it. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
Al-Shabaab is known to have captured military trucks from Ethiopian forces, besides decimating Ethiopian supply and transport convoys.
An Ethiopian Ural Military truck burnt down by Al-Shabaab in Beledweyne on the 11th of June 2015. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
And the Electronic Eyes in the Sky Failed……
At Kismayo Airport, Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu and at another undisclosed location in Southern Somalia, CIA and JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) jointly operate several drone base stations.[19] These stations serve as the command-and-control centres for armed UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), and surveillance drones[20]. Nonetheless, none of these UAVs – which constantly patrol the airspace of Lower Shabelle in combat missions to detect, locate and destroy Al-Shabaab bases – was able to detect such a large assembly of Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle. Based on the video, the militants trained on relatively open grounds without fear of being discovered and destroyed.
According to SIF, the relative freedom exercised by Al-Shabaab to assemble an entire company in open grounds shows the absolute flexibility enjoyed by the jihadists in their rural strongholds; as well as ascertain AMISOM’s operational inaptitude and strategical inadequacies in managing rural-based insurgencies.
The Istishhadi.
The video then progresses to the Istishhadi (Suicide Bomber) who blew himself up. The suicide bomber is a young Somali male named Amar Osman Axmed – a member of the Hawadle sub-clan. He is first shown reciting several verses from the Quran before being interviewed as he stood on the bank of an artificial dam. He then acknowledges his conscious acceptance of the suicide mission tasked on him.
Amar Osman Axmed on the banks of an Artificial Dam in Lower Shabelle. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
Al-Shabaab provides a brief biography of the suicide bomber; stating that he worked in the Health Department of the organization, tending to the injured fighters, and concludes by asserting that he decided to volunteer for a suicide mission whilst nursing the injuries of fellow jihadists. Next, Amar is shown praying at night, moments before he blew himself up using an SVBIED (Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device).
Amar Osman Axmed prays moments before he executed his Suicide Mission. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
SIF assesses that Al-Shabaab mentioned the clan of the Istishhadi in order to demonstrate that its ideology transcends clan loyalties and regional politics. Likewise, SIF can confidently reveal that the SVBIED used in the attack was a captured 4 × 4 Toyota Pick-up truck laced with explosives similar in make and model to the one shown below.
The SVBIED utilized a vehicle similar to the one shown above. Photo credit: Strategic Intelligence Files.
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Utility of Mobility.
According to SIF, one of the Core enablers of Asymmetric warfare is mobility. Mobility allows militants to move fighters, transport utilities and weaponry with relative freedom thus providing them the critical latitude to move freely while avoiding detection - thereby affording them the opportunity to conduct surprise strikes on enemy positions. As such mobility complements and augments operational flexibility, and also preserves the vital element of surprise. Another component which augments mobility and the element of surprise is Movement by Night. Even so, Movement by Night requires the militants to have good knowledge of the ground which in turn necessitates the need for prior reconnaissance and rehearsals for an attack.
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The Attack Begins.
In the video; just after the Istishhadi prayed for a successful suicide operation, Al-Shabaab lays out its battle plan as thus:
“The battle will begin with a Martyrdom operation carried out by brother Amar at the gates of the Crusaders’ base in Leego. This will then be followed by a quick raid executed by Mujahideen fighters from the ‘Sheikh Mukthar Abu Zubeyr Battalion’ who will storm the base, overrun it and massacre the Burundian crusaders inside”
Al-Shabaab launched their offensive at around 0500hrs local time, and from the evidence presented in the video; it is quite clear that despite their qualitative offensive power, AMISOM troops have still not yet mastered the art of rural counter-insurgency. The Burundian soldiers based at the base lacked popular support, neglected foot-patrolling and had neither mastered the terrain nor exploited their technical superiority to their advantage. In the end, Al-Shabaab was able to move in an entire company of militants into the area undetected. The movement was done at night in order to maximally exploit the cover of darkness to conceal the movements as well as maintain the element of surprise.
At about 0500hrs, the Istishhadi rammed his car through the gates of the base before detonating it and thus lighting up the sky as depicted in the video clip below:
The Istishhadi detonates his SVBIED.
The flash of light is immediately followed by sounds of rapid gunfire as a convoy of three 4 × 4 technicals drive towards the base as flashes of light emerge from 7.62mm tracer rounds fired from man-portable PK Machine Guns – operated by Al-Shabaab fighters who had taken positions a few metres away from the FOB's perimeter fence. One of the technicals is mounted with an ZU(Sergey)-23-2 23mm twin-barreled anti-aircraft auto-cannon. Seconds later, 12.7mm rounds flash through the air as they are fired from the tripod-mounted DshKM – which was in turn mounted atop the back of the 4 × 4 technicals as depicted in the video clip below:
 A convoy of three 4 × 4 technicals drive towards the base.
This is followed in rapid succession by intense gunfire from small-arms, light machine guns and heavy machine guns mounted on the 4 × 4 technicals as depicted in the video clip below. In the clip, one can count four different 4 × 4 technicals with the one captured from the Ethiopians at Beledweyne shown towards the end of the clip.
The Pre-Dawn Gun-battle.
The aforementioned technical captured by Al-Shabaab is shown below.
An AU Technical captured by Al-Shabaab. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
It is clear from the video that the same 4 × 4 technical was fitted with a 12.7mm DshKM Heavy Machine gun, and deployed for the offensive against Burundian troops at Leego as shown in the video clip below:
The AMISOM Technical being used by Al-Shabaab to attack the Burundian base at Leego.
Storming the Base.
The preceding intense gunfire softened the FOB’s defenses thus allowing Al-Shabaab foot soldiers to storm into the base where they started to execute Burundian soldiers as shown in the video clip below (which features a provocative speech given by the Slain Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi):
                              Al-Shabaab foot soldiers storm the base.
At dawn, the jihadists were inside the FOB as evidenced in the clip below:
AlShabaab Militants inside Leego's FOB.
The 4 × 4 Technicals were once more called in to decimate the remaining defensive positions still held by AMISOM troops within the base, as depicted in the clip below (which features a brief speech -in the background- given by the slain leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi):
Jihadists use Machine Guns to dislodge AMISOM soldiers from their remaining positions.
Unable to withstand the fight, the Burundian soldiers fled as evidenced in the clip below:
AMISOM soldiers abandoning their positions and fleeing from the Base.
Fall of the Base.
With the jihadists inside the base, they quickly wipe out any remaining resistance, and a Burundian soldier is executed with a headshot (featured in the clip below with a Sniper’s overlay):
Inside the base, AMISOM's Resistance is quickly smashed
Ultimately, the jihadists capture the entire base…..
Al-Shabaab gains total control of AMISOM’s FOB in Leego.
And they proceed to despoil the makeshift church:
The FOB’s Makeshift Church being Despoiled.
The jihadists then proceed to pillage the base for weapons and other provisions:
Al-Shabaab Jihadis pillaging the base.
And one of the Field Commanders was a Kenyan Mujahid ….
In June 2014, Al-Shabaab jihadists entered Lamu County, Kenya; and conducted a series of attacks[21] which enabled them to overrun several police stations, obtain Kenya Army uniforms, and capture weapons; besides massacring non-Muslim Kenyan civilians. Laughable analysis from Kenya’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) which was published by an equally unapprising media outlet, The Nairobi Star,[22] stated that the attackers had taken shelter in the vast Boni Forest alongside their families; and that they were a distinct army within Al-Shabaab known as Jeysh Ayman[23]. In reality, the attackers returned to Somalia after opening up a front in Lamu which provided Al-Shabaab militants with unhindered access to Lamu and Garissa Counties where they could launch attacks at will[24].
The militant seen in the clip below dressed in Kenyan Army uniform (including military boots) is a Kenyan mujahid who participated in the Lamu attacks; and this attests to the fact that some of the Lamu attackers returned to fight in Somalia, and never domiciled themselves in Boni Forest. From the video, it is clear that he was one of the Field Commanders during the raid on the AMISOM base. He enthusiastically exaggerates the quantity of the spoils of war which are later carted out by jihadists unto awaiting transport vehicles:
The Kenyan Mujahid Field Commander, and AlShabaab militants looting an Ammunition Dump
And the Ethiopian who Escaped was also Killed…..
During the ambush in Beledweyne, Al-Shabaab cunningly used the element of surprise and fury to quickly overwhelm the Ethiopian soldiers, most of whom fled the battle. One of the escapees made his way into AMISOM’s FOB in Leego where he was housed. Nevertheless, Al-Shabaab caught up with him in the base and killed him as the photo below clarifies:
The Slain Ethiopian who had escaped an earlier ambush at Beledweyne. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
Withdrawal from Leego.
One of the principles of Asymmetrical Warfare - according to SIF - asserts that the weaker party (in the conflict) should launch a ferocious attack on the enemy forces, using the elements of surprise and stealth to maximize its advantages; and then withdraw once it has achieved its tactical objectives. This ensures that minimal resources are used in an operation, besides forcing the stronger opponent to thin out its forces during attempts to pursue the withdrawing troops.
After raiding Leego’s FOB, looting it and burning it to the ground; Al-Shabaab jihadists briefly took control of Leego town and thereafter withdrew to their rural bases as the clip below shows:
Al-Shabaab jihadis withdraw from Leego.
Casualties.
The attack on Leego cost Al-Shabaab four fatalities (according to the video). The four are promptly eulogized in the video. They were:
         1.      Amar Osman Axmed – a member of the Hawadle sub-clan.
         2.      Dhaqane Abdullah Omar - a member of the Hawalde sub-clan.
         3.      Musab –a member of the Ishaaq Sa’ad Muuse sub-clan.
         4.      Ayoub Hassan Salad - a member of the Ayr sub-clan.
As mentioned earlier, the inclusion of their clan identities is meant to demonstrate the pan-Somali nature of the Somali jihad.
Regarding the fatalities suffered by AMISOM, the video states that more than 80 Burundian soldiers were killed; and Al-Shabaab displays the remains of about 70 Burundian soldiers. The Burundian government conceded to losing 50 soldiers[25] in Leego; while SIF put the number of fatalities at 70 dead. Towards the end of the video, the jihadists string together three bodies of AMISOM soldiers, tie them to the back of a Technical and then drag the bodies along the dirt road.
Bodies of Slain AMISOM soldiers strung together and dragged along a dirt road. Photo credit: Al-Kataib.
Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State?
The video contains speeches made by prominent Al-Qaeda personalities (most of them deceased) except for Dr.Ayman al-Zawahiri who presently serves as the Supreme Emir of Al-Shabaab with Abu-Ubaidah serving as the Chief Emir of the Jihadists in East Africa. This confirms the allegiance of Al-Shabaab to Al-Qaeda[26], and indifference to periodic (and sometimes persistent) appeals for Bayah[27](pledge of allegiance) from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In a previous post published here[28], the author stated that Al-Shabaab, despite being firmly within Al-Qaeda's Fold, has consciously implemented a cautious policy of calculated neutrality towards ISIL in the Al-Qaeda – ISIL conflict.
Deductions.
Al-Shabaab attack on the AMISOM base at Leego demonstrates enhanced capacity by the Jihadists to conduct successful offensive operations within an Asymmetrical Battlespace. The success of the attack and their triumph over Ugandan troops in Janaale town procures a bias of formulation and implementation of effective (and pragmatic) military strategies that synergize available combat potentials (mobility, operational flexibility, effective reconnaissance and the element of surprise) to ensure total kinetic victory in intense short-lived battles.
The Burundian troops in the town adopted a “Garrisson Attitude” which greatly limited their knowledge of the terrain besides curtailing the effectiveness of their patrols – two factors which enables Amniyaat Units to insert espionage and reconnaissance units to spy on the base and survey the ground prior to the attack.
In the video, voice synthesizers were used to obscure the voice of some of the militants; and this combined with the fact that there was no mention of Amniyaat Units demonstrates heightened need by Al-Shabaab to conceal vital details regarding its operational security, and tactical maneuvers.
Conclusion.
Al-Shabaab is far from being defeated as repeatedly (and errounesouly) stated by the US, Kenyan, Ugandan and Somali governments; and it is quite clear that Al-Shabaab has transformed itself into a hybrid force capable of conduction both conventional operations and guerrilla campaigns against its OPFOR (Opposition Forces). By dragging a quantitatively and qualitatively superior army into a long war of attrition, Al-Shabaab has been able to wear down its OPFOR as well as escalate the cost of the war beyond acceptable limits for its opponents[29]; and in so doing, anticipate that the OPFOR will finally suffer defeat through exhaustion and demoralization.


References

[1]  Iaccino, Ludovica (2 December 2014). “Kenya massacre: Al-Shabaab vows more 'ruthless attacks against occupation of Somali lands'International Business Times. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[2]  Allison, Simon (3 September 2015). “Analysis: Al-Shabaab's revenge sparks another crisis in Somalia”. Daily Maverick. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
 [3] Ahmed Roble, Muhyadin. “Al-Shabaab Exploits Kenyan Crackdown to Recruit Muslim Youth,Terrorism Monitor 12:11 (May 2014): 7-8. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[4] Masters, Jonathan; Aly Sergie, Mohammed. “Al-Shabab,” CFR Backgrounders (13 March 2015). Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[5] Musaji, Sheila (22 September 2013). “Al-Shabab are criminal terrorists not jihadisThe American Muslim. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[6] Al-Kataib Media Foundation. “Avenging the Honor of Our Prophet- Storming the Burundian Crusaders’ Base Leego – Lower Shabelle”, (September 25, 2015).
 [7] Lambert, Fred (14 June 2015). “Kenyan military: 11 al-Shabab militants killed in botched attack”. United Press International. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
 [8] For a discussion of Al-Shabaab’s attacks during the 2015 Ramadhan Period, see: Nominal Analyst. “Al-Shabaab’s Ramadhan Offensive - Altering the Course of Jihad in East Africa”, Strategic Intelligence Files (June 2015). Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[9] Nominal Analyst. “Fall of Leego's AMISOM base – Primer to Al-Shabaab Offensive in South-eastern and Central Somalia”, Strategic Intelligence Files (July 2015). Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[10] Jamah, Ally (2 June 2015). “Al-Shabaab militants are cowards, says President Yoweri Museveni”. Standard Digital. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
[11] Museveni, Yoweri (27 April 2015). “Al-Shabaab Already Defeated”. New Vision Online. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
[12] Kriel, Robyn; Duggan, Briana (3 September 2015). “Military sources: Al-Shabaab attack in Somalia kills dozens of AU troops”. CNN. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
 [13] Moritsugu, Ken (12 September 2015). “Ugandan leader blames own commanders for laxity in deadly Somali militant attack”. Associated Press.
[14] StrategyPage. “Somalia: A Nasty Ramadan Surprise”, Strategy Page (July 2015). Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[15] Weiss, Caleb (19 June 2015).  “Shabaab claims to kill dozens of Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia”. The Long War Journal. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
[16] Eid-al-Adha (translated into English as the Feast of the Sacrifice) commenced in the evening of Wednesday, 23rd September 2015; and ended in the Evening of Thursday, 24th September 2015. AlShabaab, through Al-Kataib, released the video on 24th Sepetember 2015.
 [17] The Pontiff at the time of the publications of the caricatures which Osama is talking about (the Muhammad cartoons published by Denmark-based newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in September 2005) was Pope Benedict XVI.
[18] Harley, Stephen. “Al-Shabaab’s Eid Message: the Leego Attack Video”, Our Man on the Horn (September 2015). Retrieved 6 October 2015.
[19] Scahill, Jeremy (10 December 2014). “The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia”. The Nation. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
 [20] McCormick, Ty (2 July 2015). “Exclusive: U.S. Operates Drones From Secret Bases in Somalia”. Foreign Policy. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
 [21] BBC (6 July 2014). “Kenyan coastal region of Lamu hit by deadly attacks”. BBC.com. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
 [22] Onsarigo, Calvin (21 July 2015). “Al Shabaab seeks Coast Caliphate”. Nairobi Star. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
 [23] Wabala, Dominic (13 July 2015). “Al Shabaab unit formed to cripple Kenya”. Nairobi Star. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
 [24] Star Team (27 May 2015). “Confusion over al Shabaab attack in Yumbis town, one officer dead”. Nairobi Star. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
[25] Binnie, Jeremy (9 July 2015). “AMISOM to 'revitalise' campaign against Al-Shabaab”. IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
 [26] Joscelyn, Thomas (6 September 2015). “Shabaab names new emir, reaffirms allegiance to al Qaeda”. The Long War Journal. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
 [27] Kriel, Robyn; Leposo, Lillian (22 May 2015). “In video, Somali ISIS members court Al-Shabaab”. CNN. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
 [28] Nominal Analyst. “Kenyan Engineers Advancing Technical Sophistication of Al-Shabaab’s IEDS as Amniyaat Activates Istishhadi Elements in Kenya”, Strategic Intelligence Files (May 2015). Retrieved 6 October 2015.

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