September 17, 2009: Suicide bombers hit foreign troops in Somalia

On September 17, 2009 Al Shabaab suicide bombers rammed through the security gate of AMISOM’s HQ in Somalia, killing 21 and wounding 40

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – Occupation forces invite their own response – no surprise there.

In the past few decades, i.e. after 9/11, military deployments have taken on a new – and disturbing – trend. Gone are the days of fighting large armies (think WWII), having been replaced by the use of guns and drones to fight terrorism. To my mind, this is not a good development (and one I discussed at length in my fourth book An End to the War on Terrorism).

Several nations have elected to send troops overseas to deal with terrorist groups. Some of these deployments are at first blush understandable – think the US-led invasion of Afghanistan post 9/11 – while others are less so – think the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Excuse me min fadhlak, but can anyone tell me where Al Qaeda is? (Photo: The U.S. Army on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Another example of the latter was the 2006 ‘invasion’ of Somalia by Ethiopian forces to handle what was then called the Islamic Courts Union, a fundamentalist Muslim bunch which did not actually pose any threat to Ethiopia. Not only did that move not solve the problem is sought to undo but led to the creation of Al Shabaab, a much larger and more dangerous bunch.

And the Ethiopians were not the only ones to undertake such a foolish move. The African Union (AU) authorised a military mission named AMISOM in January 2007 to last six months: it is still there 14 years later!

Not surprisingly, having foreign troops wandering around your country has a nasty tendency to piss off the locals, terrorists among them. Al Shabaab (AS), Somalia’s reigning Islamist extremists is one of AMISOM’s chief enemies.

On this day in 2009

AS suicide bombers driving two UN-marked vehicles rammed through the security gate of the mission’s headquarters, which is attached to Mogadishu’s airport, killing 21, mostly soldiers, and wounding 40. One of the wounded was the force commander, Ugandan Maj. Gen. Nathan Mugisha who had assumed command the month previously.

We will not be deterred by such criminal acts and (to) continue all our efforts to ensure the return of peace and stability in Somalia.

Joint statement by the UN, EU, Arab League, the US and others

The peacekeeping force was charged with protecting key government and strategic installations in Mogadishu, including the port, airport and presidential palace and was the de facto military force of the weak, transitional Somali government. Hence it was targeted for an attack.

And the attacks continue…

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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