Despite Somali ‘Victory’ Claims, Fighting Continues

Al-Shabaab Insists Change in Tactics Not a Retreat

The Saturday announcement that the self-proclaimed Somali government had won a decisive “victory” over al-Shabaab and taken the entire city of Mogadishu was greeted with much fanfare, but the battle seems far from over.

Just one day after that “victory” fighting broke out again, in Mogadishu, with al-Shabaab forces that had supposedly already retreated. Though there seems to be some limited movement out of the city, the fighting continues.

Al-Shabaab was denying the claims of a government “victory” on Saturday, insisting that the move was simply a change in tactics on their part. After years of fighting over Mogadishu, a city that is now in large part a collection of famine refugee camps, it seems unsurprising that the strategy might change.

Indeed, many were expressing hopes that the move out of Mogadishu might make famine relief easier to rush into the nation. The government’s own attacks on refugees, however, might make this over-optimistic.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.