Working to create the sense that they can move and take territory at will, as the Somalia Jihad continues its recent escalation.
“Insurgents Briefly Capture Key Town in Show of Defiance,” by Stephanie McCrummen for the Washington Post:
NAIROBI, March 26 — Islamist insurgents battling for control of Somalia briefly seized a strategic town Wednesday, the latest sign of how feeble the country’s internationally backed transitional government has become.
The takeover of Jowhar, about 55 miles north of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, was the most recent in a series of advances by a radical Islamist faction of a broader insurgency against the transitional government and the Ethiopian military that installed it more than a year ago.
In the past month, the faction — known as al-Shabab and recently designated a terrorist organization by the United States — has briefly asserted control of at least six towns in southern Somalia, a show of force underlining the fact that the Somali government has little control over the Horn of Africa nation.
“They go in and expel whatever rudimentary authorities are there, then go back to the bush and go to another unassuming village or town,” said Abdirizak Adam Hassan, an adviser to Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf. “To my mind, they are saying: ‘Although you defeated u s, we are still a formidable force. We are undiminished, and we are here to stay.’