Initial reports coming out of the coastal city of Kismayo, Somalia are indicating that U.S. Special Operations Forces and elements from the Somali Special Forces targeted the jihadist group Harakat Al-Shabaab this afternoon in the village of Berhani. SOFREP obtained unconfirmed reports from a local photojournalist on the scene that “foreign troops have attacked a stronghold within the village of Berhani.
Coalition forces arrested several people on suspicion of being aligned with the terror group Al Shabaab.” The source went on to claim that ” Four houses were set ablaze by Jubaland troops after the foreign forces raided the area.”
Back on the 23rd of July this year, Al Shabaab reclaimed the village of Berhani after Jubaland forces vacated the village burning residences to the ground on their way out.
Al Shabaab claimed that this act by the Jubaland troops consisted of clan-based revenge attacks and vowed to defend the village from further incursions by blocking roads leading into the area. Since February 2016, Al Shabaab has slowly regained control of large portions of southern Somalia, largely due to the withdrawal of African Union and Somali governmental forces from the region. With a heavy presence in the city of Marka, just 45 miles south of Mogadishu.
Little is known as to who or what U.S. Special Operations Forces units were part of the raid let alone operating within the area. However, U.S. Special Forces under the command of SOCAFRICOM as well the Joint Special Operations Command or JSOC have had a presence in Somalia for quite some time.
Also unknown is the Somali Special Operations unit involved with the raid. Yet, with this attack being reminiscent of a Special Forces/JSOC direct action mission with the intent on capturing high value targets for actionable intelligence.
One could hazard to guess that U.S. Special Forces trained counter-terrorism unit The Gaashan’s Alpha Group could’ve been involved.
Alpha Group was trained and now incorporates what is known as “snatch-and-grab” operations, where suspected terrorists are targeted, captured, and then interrogated within the confines of the Alpha Group’s compound near Aden Adde International Airport.
With the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Somalia as of October 2016 and the heavy resurgence of Al Shabaab after the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops into the heart of the failed state. These types of operations may begin to see an uptick in frequency.