September 23, 2010
Quick Take: Map of al Shabaab's Mogadishu Offensive
Today’s round of fighting in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, has been one of the deadliest since the radical Islamist group al Shabaab, which has al Qaeda ties, launched its Ramadan offensive on August 23. Al Shabaab militants have engaged Somali government troops and African Union (AU) peacekeepers in ground combat on a regular basis over the past month and have made a strong push to sever the transportation and supply route between Villa Somalia, the complex housing primary Transitional Federal Government (TFG) buildings, and the airport, which serves as a headquarters for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) force. In addition to a ground offensive, al Shabaab has used larger-scale attacks targeting the presidential palace and the airport, and has demonstrated that it has the capabilities to breach the defensive perimeters of both. Earlier today, al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM forces near the parliament building and killed a Ugandan peacekeeper, according to the AU’s spokesman Barigye Ba-Hoku. This attack occurred only 500 meters west of the presidential palace.
The past month’s offensive has displaced over 23,000 Mogadishu residents, adding to Somalia’s already high number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). It has affected the TFG’s ability to govern, which was already limited, by preventing parliament from conducting sessions. On Saturday, al Shabaab militants launched mortars at a planned session of parliament, wounding one member. The session was postponed because a quorum was not present.
The Critical Threats Project has produced a map of Mogadishu outlining the general areas of control in the Somali capital and depicting the locations of recent attacks in al Shabaab’s ongoing offensive against the TFG and AMISOM.