The press office of the Somali insurgent movement Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabaab) released a statement today, accompanied with photographs and a one-page data sheet, about some of the Burundian soldiers killed in fierce fighting with insurgent forces in Dayniile, a suburb of Mogadishu, in late October. The release of this information lends further credence to Harakat al-Shabab leaders' claims that a significant number of Burundian soldiers were indeed killed, despite denials from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). However, the question arises why the insurgent movement did not release more photographs of captured ID cards. The release of such information has frequently been done in the past by Al-Shabab as a media-savvy way of proving its claims that it has killed AMISOM soldiers and captured enemy equipment following vigorous denials from AMISOM spokesmen and officials.
I have written a longer piece about this at Al-Wasat blog.
For Immediate Release: Details of Burundian Soldiers Killed in Somalia
Mogadishu, Somalia (12/12/2011) – In response to requests from some families in Burundi, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen has decided to publish the details of some of the Burundian soldiers killed during the heavy battles in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. With lack of verification from the Burundian Army, family members of the slain soldiers have contacted Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen in an appeal to confirm the fate of their missing soldiers. Responding to the pleas of ten families in Burundi, attached here are the identity cards and a supplementary table detailing the full names, ranks, specialities, dates of birth, town, province, vital statistics, badge numbers, blood groups, and religious beliefs of the soldiers. Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen also opens the doors of communication to all families in Burundi who suspect that their sons have been killed in Somalia and those willing to discover the fate of their missing soldiers. Families can file for a Missing Soldier Verification Request by forwarding the full name of the missing soldier to the War Statistics Office (WSO), quoting reference number BR/4539, no later than the 20th of December 2011. Contact details are listed below. Attached:
- 10 images of ID cards plus 1 certificate
- PDF sheet with complete soldiers’ details