By Richard Lough

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Islamist rebels in Somalia can plot attacks like the Kenyan mall massacre because Somali government forces and allied African troops lack the soldiers and firepower needed to crush the insurgents for good, a senior Somali official said on Thursday.

Abdirahman Omar Osman, an adviser and spokesman to the Somali presidency, said al Shabaab rebels occupied swathes of remote countryside beyond the reach of Somalia’s ill-equipped army and an over-stretched African Union peacekeeping force.

From their rural hideouts, the group’s commanders were able to mastermind deadly assaults inside Somalia’s borders and beyond, Osman said. Al Shabaab says it was behind the Westgate mall attack in Nairobi on September 21, when gunmen sprayed people with bullets and hurled grenades, killing at least 67.

A failure to equip the military offensive against al Shabaab in Somalia with helicopter gunships and heavy weaponry was hampering efforts to build upon the security gains won over the past two years, Osman said.

“It gives al Shabaab leeway to plan such attacks as we’re not pressing forward,” Osman told Reuters. “They’re sitting there, comfortable, planning attacks and their strategy.”

The United Nations estimates the group numbers about 5,000 militants. The mall raid bore out fears that although al Shabaab was weakened the group would still seek to use Somalia as a launch pad for strikes against its east African neighbors.

In a sign of Kenya’s frustration at the festering instability in Somalia in the wake of the Westgate assault, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday told Somalia’s leaders to “put their house in order.”

Kenyan troops are among the AU’s 17,700-strong AMISOM force fighting al Shabaab, Somalia’s most powerful militia which emerged from the ruins of an Islamist administration routed by Ethiopian forces in late 2006.


Osman told Reuters the fight against al Shabaab was a global problem. Somalia, he said, did not have a single military helicopter to use in the battle against al Shabaab, while its forces lacked ammunition and large caliber weapons.

Although an arms embargo on Somalia has been partially lifted, Osman said the cash-strapped government could not afford to buy weapons and ammunition.

“Why they are not supporting us to finish the job is something we cannot understand,” the spokesman said.

Somalia’s allies are, though, wary of arming a military that is more a collection of rival militia’s than a cohesive fighting force and dogged by corruption. Government ammunition has frequently ended up on the black market and in some attacks in Mogadishu, suicide bombers have worn official military fatigues.

Osman said the national army was now better trained and more disciplined.

“Trust has to start somewhere. We cannot move forward with this,” he said. In a sign, however, that trust remains in short supply, an embargo on heavy arms remains in place.

Last week, Uganda’s military chief, General Katumba Wamala, said the AMISOM needed more soldiers if it was to extend territorial gains against al Shabaab. Uganda is the biggest contributor to AMISOM.

A further 2,000-7,000 troops were required, he said. That would place an extra burden on the main financiers of AMISOM’s operations, including the European Union and Washington.

“For me, the bill of 5,000 soldiers is nil compared with the benefits of a secure and stable Somalia,” Osman said.

Source: Reuters


  1. Giving Somalia more weapons is akin to adding fuel to a 23year old fire. The ill disciplined troops will happily trade their weapons for $dollars as soon as the corrupt Muuqdishu government officials fail to pay these armed militia masquerading as National troops.

    Shabab who have been isolated for over the last 6years from external aid and resupply are more powerful then ever before primarily due to failures of the Muuqdishu admins whose Villa muuqdishu the most guarded building in the horn of africa still managed to loose it's entire stockpile of weapons less then 6months ago.

    Any weapon given to Somali troops will more then likely end up in the hands of Shabab. These are the same weapons that will be used in Terror attacks in the region by shabab. Since Hassan Mahamoud would like to force Kenya out of his country it will be hard to believe that he will hesitate to share his weapons with shabab directly or indirectly.

    • So Hassan Mahamoud is alshabab himself … interesting observation and mind boggling to think a president is against himself and what he stands for .. how oxymoronic is that??
      I understand Somaliland do not wish Somalia to succeed but to go this low is attest Somalia is doing something right.

      Viva Somalia.

      • Hassan Mahamoud has a Kenya General in his So called Country of Somalia-Italia and Hassan Mahamoud must feel impotent at the prospect of having no say in the actions of the Kenya general and his men in Kismanyo.

        Hassan Mahamoud and his Minsters were denied entry in Kismanyo by Kenya troops and you have the nerve to believe such a defeatred man will hesitate at the prospect of exacting revenge against Kenyans in their own soil???

        Do not act Naive Hassan Mahamoud allowed the Stockpile of weapons in Villa Muuqdishu to be stolen by Shabab and the world knows it.

        Besides Nothing Somalia or it's People have done Since 1960 can be attributed to action of Intelligent live forms.

        • I agree with you on this one, Hassan Culusow wanted Kenyans out of Somalia in just two months ago, so Hassan Culusow has been changing colors like a chameleon. Bringing heavy weaponry like helicopters and so on will add fuel to the fire. Hassan Culusow needs to prove to the world that he does not lead only Hawiye Mooriyaans and instead he is a leader for all regardless of villages, in other words this man was selected with dollars from the Wahabis. Arming Mooriyaan to the teeth will be a disaster.

          • SNA are only effective at extra judicial killing and rape of IDPS in and surrounding Muuqdishu.

            Shabab is midst the ranks of Hassan Mahamoud SNA troops this is fact.

            Weapons given to Hassan Mahamoud's troops are as good as weapons directly handed to shabab to commit terrorist attacks in the region. Imagine Shabab with access to heavy weapons??? It is a devastation waiting to unfold.

            Westage was an incident committed by cowards!

            The next attack with weapons donated to Hassan Mahamoud will be a global travesty!

            We see the signs yet we choose to ignore them and in the process risk innocent lives. Shame on the international community that is preparing more innocents for the slaughter hands of Hassan Mahamoud's associates.

          • Silanyo is a rapist and he encourages rapes and he supports alshabab because they are alshabab in Hargeisa. You are speaking lies that Hassan sheikh is shabab.

        • AMISOM + SNA forces are doing wonderful jobs now days since removing them Shababs from the capital. The latest is the successful Mahaday capture. They need more help in getting heavy weapons and helicopter gunships, and even forces to arrive from other African forces, more is merrier when it comes those violent people who on the run in the country that is vast will be rounded in short time.
          Hassan made a mistake when he wanted Kenya to leave the country over Kismayo affairs but that has since been patched after Jubba + Somalia agreement is signed. Kenya’s needs some troop movement instead sitting next to the charcoal shipments. They need to act soon and bring what they used to call their al-shabab on-slought further into the north from land and sea to remove them from Barawe.
          SNA is in just coming back into shape of a force, but is improving thanks to the help and the training they are getting from the EU forces now @ Jezira camp. No one is expected to become their former glory overnight, just wait when all civil war by-products, namely AL-Shebab and separatists, like the warlods of the before them, will be the thing of past

  2. Hassan sheikh Mohamed is not shabab, it's darods who are giving Somaliland a bad name and its darods who say that hawayia is alshabab. Buuxiye did know that in Somaliland they captured a crazy mullah who supported alshabab's attacks and they are alshabab supporters, how would you feel if somebody called our president silanyo shabab and supporting shababab which is not true.

    • Oh Please let us not compare Somaliland-Republic with Somalia-Federation-of-failure.

      Somaliland is a democracy as a consequence sheikhs are within their right to express their feelings regarding the Kenyan incident positive or negative. It is not a crime that is committed if a citizen of democratic-Republic despises Kenya for their Invasion of Kismanyo. What is illegal is his arrest for his lack of sensitive to the incident and i am sure he will be released in due course.

      As for Hassan Mahamoud he is not just celebrating the incident he sanctioned it and blessed it since Kenya has invaded his country and continues to occupy it with force against Hassan Mahamoud's wishes. Kenya presence in Kismanyo is the greatest treat for his government above and beyond the treat posed by Shabab. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" Shabab is able to accomplish actions Hassan Mahamoud is neither capable of nor has the confidence to in light of the Au mission that keeps him on life support.

      The weapons deposit stolen from Vila Muuqdishu could have been the weapons used in the westgate attack perhaps???

      • Riddler let's me tell you something you are wrong that Somaliland is democratic because lately no one can express their opinion expect through criticism. If you support a you a territosits attack or group you go could end up in Jail. I think that Alshabab took you one time and you joined them because you have their ideology. One of the assilants is from Hargeisa the same sub tribe as godane did you see anybody from Mogadishu on that list the answer is no. You are the representative of alshabab because you hate Somaliland and Somalia. The sheikh's don't have rights to support to murders. Are saying that it is okay to kill people and it's halal. Those people don't represent Islam and that man doesn't represent islam. People like you give Islam the sterotype that muslims are terrtiostis. Islam is the reglion of peace not violence which you support. So please joker keep your comments to self and in SOmaliland we don't have room for haters like you, if you hate Somalia that means you hate Somaliland.

        • Keep you slave mentality to yourself.

          1. Where is Shabab's base of operations?
          2. Who is resupplying shabab's rations, weapons, uniforms, fuel and ranks?
          3. Why is Shabab only attacking Kenya?

          Answers on a postcard to Kenyata please…

          P.s you should view Hassan Mahamoud's political position on youtube with regards to Shabab prior to being Selected for office in Vila Amisom.

          • Keep your homo mentality to yourself,
            1. Alshabab of Operation headquarters in Hargeisa
            2. Somaliland
            3. Because they want frame Somalia.
            Your mother was raped by her master.
            Silanyo is shabab

          • Hawiyas are Mooriyaan criminals except Abgaals, so its a fact that majority of the Shabaab foot soldiers are Habar Gidir Mooriyaans. Do not blame Daaroods, Daaroods might soon secede from Mogadishu and the Corrupt officials, Kismayo is in the hands of Ogaden and Puntland is predominantly Majeerteen, Khaatumo will soon have a man power to kick out the separatists.

          • You are sick and you need to go to a mental institution hawiyas is the best and darods are the one who destroyed Somalia.

          • Darods is alshabab that consists of marahan and majatertan, and dhulabante and warsegnlia are the agents in the north. Darods are mooryiaan and daroods are gay.

          • Your lying and your slave mentality shows how stupid you are about Somali politics and for that you are not true lander and that the true Shabab is Faroole not Silanyo. I was testing that on you if you are really a somalilander which you are not.

          • Do you worship sillanyo. Is Hassan your gay partner. FUUCK you and Your mother for giving to birth to you, your lucky you are behind a computer where you can't get your ass kicked.
            Moother fuucker you dirty basstard.

          • Chilam Ballam I know Hassan is one of your gay allies and that he loves men rape. Learn to spell and speak to English properly, instead of using profanity like a trash Somali person.

  3. I love men rape and I am Hassan. I have been raped in Prison before that's why I act like a woman, a woman with balls. Next week I am having gender change operation and I will become a full woman.
    I like to cross dress and wear women clothing and I will kiss Buxxiye my future husband in the face.
    Cheers Darlings.

    • Is your autisam bothering you and you are sick and get help, go fuuck your mother, I think you are chilan billain and Hassan and I am going complain about you to Interpol internet police and you are one retarded and sick individual.