The Press Release Wars
August 2, 2011 Leave a comment
With the world constantly searching for news regarding the situation in Somalia and the international Media still ravenously rummaging for stories regarding the current food crisis, it seems that both the African Union forces and the Islamists are conscientiously attempting to sway public opinion onto their sides respectively. I have been receiving written statements from AMISOM headquarters for quite some time but Al-Shabaab, who are somewhat elusive when it comes to international media, have begun dishing out some well-written press releases.
As the battles in Mogadishu continue to escalate, as predicted, during this Holy month of Ramadan, both Al-Shabaab and AMISOM forces have their own narrative of the events that have transpired over the last four days of fighting. Local Media here in Mogadishu has reported that several Ugandan soldiers and up to 3 unidentified ‘white’ foreigners were killed during yesterday’s suicide attack on an AU base in Wardhiigley by the Islamists. Independent observers and analysts in Mogadishu have also corroborated the findings of the media. But what did the warring parties have to say?
AMISOM Force HQ:
1 August 2011
AMISOM foils suicide attack in Mogadishu
Two suicide bombers dressed in Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) uniform were killed today before they were able to detonate their suicide vests. They had attempted to infiltrate behind the frontline held by AMISOM in Mogadishu.
The incident happened behind the frontline, in Wardhigley district, near Florenza Junction. In an exchange of gunfire with the suicide bombers two AMISOM soldiers were wounded but died later of their injuries. The incident happened at approximately 4pm today.
Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, AMISOM Force spokesperson said;
“In the midst of a famine seizing Somalia the extremists are choosing to focus on killing, not saving life.
“The extremists are using desperate measures to achieve their ends through their willingness to use brutal violence during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Make no mistake, we will not allow this sort of terrorism to succeed.
“AMISOM Forces are in the middle of conducting security operations in the capital to increase the areas of the capital under government control and safeguard Somalis.”
Each year, during the month of Ramadan, the extremists have attacked civilians and AMISOM troops using suicide bombers.
AMISOM Force Spokesman
Al-Shabaab’s version of events, however, differed completely from from what was published by AMISOM.
Al-Shabaab Press Office:
For Immediate Release
Mujahideen Fighters Kill 3 American Trainers and More Than 20 Ugandan Soldiers
Mogadishu (01/08/2011) – The Mujahideen have today carried out a daring raid inside an African Union soldiers’ base in Wardhiigley district of Mogadishu, killing 3 American trainers, 8 Ugandan commanders and injuring more than a dozen of the AMISOM force.
Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage, the official spokesman for the Mujahideen said:
‘Today Allah as enabled the Mujahideen to attack the African Union bases recently established in Xamar Bile, where both AU forces and their American were based. We hereby confirm that three American trainers and 8 AU commanders were killed in the raid.
We have already displayed the corpses of the slain Ugandan soldiers to the media yesterday and today Allah has enabled the Mujahideen to add three more Americans to the list; that is in addition to the American sniper killed in yesterday’s battle.’
This heroic raid comes at a time when the African mercenaries have launched an offensive in Mogadishu in order to displace the remaining citizens from the capital city during this Holy Month of Ramadan.
Since the launch of their failed offensive in Mogadishu, on Thursday 28 July 2011, the AMISOM forces have lost more than 20 soldiers, including some high ranking officers and battalion commanders. Three of the corpses of the slain soldiers are still in the hands of the Mujahideen.
While clearly undermining the capacity of the Ugandan and Burundian soldiers to maneuver and safely settle in Mogadishu, these raids were carried out by the Mujahideen in order to rescue and open a safe passage for the tens of thousands of displaced people forcefully settled near Mogadishu’s frontlines by AMISOM forces.
Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen