How The US Raid On al-Shabaab In Somalia Went Wrong

 

 

 

” As a mother of young children, Fadumo Sheikh is used to rising early. Last Saturday she was due to prepare their breakfasts before they went to the local madrasa. But the day started earlier than ever when, at around 2am, she was woken by the sound of sporadic gunfire.

Within sight of Sheikh’s home in Barawe, Somalia, crack American navy Seals had launched a lightning amphibious assault on the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. Less an hour later they would be forced to retreat, their mission far from accomplished. Based on interviews with witnesses and members of al-Shabaab, as well as official statements and media reports, the Guardian can present the most comprehensive picture yet of the daring pre-dawn raid – and where it went wrong.

What had been invisible to Sheikh and other residents of Barawe was the stealthy advance of navy Seal team six – the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan – in a speedboat towards the Somalian coastline before first light. The team consisted of about 20 Seals, according to leaked accounts, and their craft was flanked on the Indian Ocean by three small boats to provide back-up.

The Seals took up positions inside the house’s compound, according to a report by NBC, which continued: “Then a lone al-Shabaab fighter walked out into plain view, smoked a cigarette, and went back inside, one source familiar with the details of the raid said. The fighter played it cool, and gave no indication that he had spotted the Seals. But he came back out shooting, firing rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle.”

The element of surprise had been lost and al-Shabaab’s fighters unleashed gunfire and grenades in a cacophony that rang out across the town, murdering sleep before dawn prayers. But the Americans continued on the offensive, according to an elder who did not wish to be named. “The attackers from the US divided into two groups,” he said. “Group one, comprising six men, stormed the house and began shooting the people inside it, while group two, also of at least six men, were staying outside the house. “

 

 

The Story Continues At The Guardian