The use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by Al-Shabaab has emerged as the deadliest threat to peace and war against the militant group, military and intelligence experts have warned, calling for deployment of anti-IED strategies among security actors in the country.
Amisom Chief Francisco Madeira said Tuesday during a security workshop Al-Shabaab was increasingly using IEDs as weapon of choice minutes before the militants detonated a Vehicle borne IED on the same hotel the meeting was going on killing 22 people and injuring over 20 others.
“We need to win the anti-IED war against Al-Shabaab to enable us keep the main supply routes open and keep the main urban centers and population in general working and thriving. The enemy is trying to prevent us entering and getting out of these urban centers and if we do not counter, governance will not take place in those centers,” said Madeira.
Speaking at the same event, Maj. Steve Little from the UK MST, noted that IEDs present the biggest challenge to the stabilization of Somalia and called for concerted efforts to counter the problem.
“We aim to work together with all partners, such as those here today from the EU and USA, in a coordinated and joined up fashion to meet the requirements set by AMISOM,” Maj. Little stated.
The militant group Al-Shabaab detonated VBIED Tuesday in SYL hotel just opposite the Presidential Villa damaging a large section of the building. Two ministers and a member of parliament were among the injured.
The group has rammed up its attacks in the city in the last few months using VBIEDs. Barely a week ago, the group killed 12 people in Banaadir Beach restaurant within the city in an attack which lasted into the wee hours of the morning.
The concerns raised by participants in yesterday’s meeting follows a recommendations in a report released by the regional body IGAD last month noting the increased IED use and recommended security forces and countires in the region device anti-IED strategies.
“Better understanding of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat and possible counter-measures, including appropriate Counter-IED (C-IED) strategies, enhanced technical capabilities for post-blast investigation and analysis, and improved information sharing within the region,” the report said.