2022 was marked by the transition to a new administration in Somalia, the subsequent formation of a new government, and a civilian uprising against Al-Shabaab (AS) that began in Hiraan over the summer but took root in September. However, despite the widely reported offensive operations in support of the civilian uprising, it would seem this did not make a marked difference in the number of attacks by AS; rather, there was a massive increase in the number of casualties as a result of the fight against AS in 2022 compared to 2021.
The majority of security incidents increased dramatically in 2022, with some occurrences practically doubling compared to 2021. Al-Shabaab (AS) was very active during the end of the year, increasing the frequency of raids and IED attacks. Notably, the number of assassinations carried out by AS rose, as did the number of grenade attacks and ambushes, in comparison to 2021. AS increasingly targeted the majority of its perceived foes, such as regular and special Somali National Army (SNA) forces, officials or civil servants, elders or delegates, civilians, and Macawisley militias. With a few exceptions, the allied forces were unable to conduct a sufficient number of counter-operations in response to AS.
2022 saw AS conduct one of its most combined operations: 954, according to Hiraal’s tally. While Hiraal cannot corroborate the government’s assertion that 3000 AS fighters have been killed with an additional 3,700 AS fighters wounded – which would leave AS with zero combatants according to Hiraal’s last AS strength estimates – sources confirm that each side has lost at least 1,500.
Initially, the new government was focused on supporting local insurgencies in HirShabelle against AS. However, a fragmented response allowed AS to reorganise and adapt. Consequently, numerous subclans have now signed peace accords with AS, and the likelihood of widespread uprisings and the toppling of AS by local actors is diminishing.
Here is a map showing where every cited incident occurred:
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