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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 08
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
08 Sep 2014

A Somali soldier stands in front of one of two minibuses that were hit by a suicide car bomb (VBIED) 20Km outside of Mogadishu on 9 September 2014.

12 civilians were killed and 27 wounded. Despite being weakened, Al Shabab were still able to carry out ambushes and attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These would often hit military targets, but would end up killing and maiming scores of civilians. Al Shabab displayed a blatant disregard for civilian casualties in their fight agains AMISOM/the government.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
31 Aug 2014

2011-2014

These photos profile the efforts over the past years of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to route Al-Shabab from its strongholds in Somalia.
Beginning with a large offensive in 2011, aimed at ending Al-Shabab rule in Somalia, Mogadishu was quickly retaken. Since then, AMISOM forces were able to steadily push Al-Shabab militants out of the outlying areas under their control.
In the summer and fall of 2014, AMISOM launched Operation Indian Ocean, which was another offensive aimed at eradicating pockets of Al-Shabab fighters still stationed in the Somali countryside. 

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 07
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
31 Aug 2014

Soldiers from UPDF 62 battalion sit in a Casspir Armoured Personnel Carrier on the way to join in the attack on KurtunWaraay on 31 August 2014. Somalia is big and mobility is key to AMISOM's ability to reclaim Al Shabaab controlled territory. Offensives thus involved a variety of armored personnel carriers to allow for movement of troops.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 11
Beled Amin
By Noe Falk Nielsen
29 Aug 2014

Ugandan AMISOM soldier guarding the outer perimeter at the forward operating base in Beled Amin during Operation Indian Ocean on 29 August 2014.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 06
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
29 Aug 2014

As Al Shabaab lost their footholds around Mogadishu, and forces from other countries joined AMISOM, Somalia was carved up in sectors, each under control of an AMISOM contingent. Here a Ugandan Army colonel stands in front of his tank battalion in preparation for Operation Indian Ocean to reclaim the cities of Bulo Marer, Kurtunwaraay and eventually Barawe, in Lower Shabelle. 29 August 2014.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 12
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
29 Jan 2013

The head of a suicide bomber, who blew himself up outside of State House, the seat of the government, in Mogadishu on 29 January 2013.

NOTE: GRAPHIC IMAGE

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 04
Arabiska
By Noe Falk Nielsen
24 May 2012

A Ugandan T55 tank sits on the ridge overlooking Afgoye, during Operation Free Shabelle on 24 May 2012. Having superior fire power and a willingness to accept casualties, the Ugandan People's Defense Forces, supported by the Burundian National Defense Forces slowly pushed Al Shabab out of the capital and subsequently the regional population centers.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 05
Arabiska
By Noe Falk Nielsen
24 May 2012

By May 2012, the Somali National Army was showing signs of coherence and the 6th Brigade fought alongside the Ugandan Army as the African Union Mission to Somalia captured the strategic city of Afgoye. The offensive was the first proper move out of Mogadishu and into Al Shabab's heartland. 24 May 2012.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 09
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
22 May 2012

Dead Al Shabaab fighter in the bush during Operation Free Shabelle to take the town of Afgoye on 23 May 2011.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 01
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
26 Mar 2012

Here a Somali warlord-turned-general relaxes with his entourage at a divisional HQ in Mogadishu on 26 March 2012. The Somali National Army was still in its infancy when the anti-Al-Shabab offensive began. The Army was initially comprised of little more than four pro-government clan militias loosely working together.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 11
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
20 Jan 2012

The fighting was fierce and ambushes a constant danger. Al Shabaab was capable and resourceful and AMISOM took serious casualties as they slowly pushed Al Shabaab out of the capital. Here an AMISOM ambulance was hit by a recoilless rifle grenade, the grenade going straight through the cabin wounding the already wounded soldiers further during the Mogadishu University Offensive on 20 January 2012.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 03
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
18 Nov 2011

The Somali Army soldiers were underfed, undertrained, under-equipped and often addicted to khat/mirra. Here a Somali soldier high on khat rests at a battalion HQ on the eastern frontline in Mogadishu on 18 November 2011.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 02
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
17 Nov 2011

Two widows of killed Somali Army soldiers collect the salary of their dead husbands in Mogadishu, on 17 November 2011. The Somali army, under-equipped and undertrained, took part in the fighting, losing thousands of soldiers in the process.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 08
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
04 Nov 2011

The AMISOM soldiers received training both pre-deployment and while in-country. Fighting in the streets of Mogadishu, Urban Warfare, represented a new kind of war for the Ugandan Army that had specialised in bush war rather than Urban combat. Here Ugandan soldiers arriving at the Al Jazeera training camp south of Mogadishu for training on 4 November 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 10
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
02 Nov 2011

The fighting in Mogadishu was done from building to building and block to block and few house were left unscarred. The fighting was fierce and hiding places aplenty in the ruined city. Here a Ugandan soldier is hiding from potential snipers on the top floor of the ruins of the once majestic Aruba Hotel in Mogadishu on 2 November 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 06
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
22 Oct 2011

AMISOM convoys would often be ambushed and vigilant guard had to be maintained when the AMISOM convoys navigated the potholed streets of Mogadishu. Here a Ugandan soldier with the nickname "Stonecold" is guarding the rear of the convoy as it moves through downtown Mogadishu on 22 October 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 07
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
22 Oct 2011

AMISOM convoys would often be ambushed and vigilant guard had to be maintained when the AMISOM convoys navigated the potholed streets of Mogadishu. Here a Ugandan soldier with the nickname "Stonecold" is guarding the rear of the convoy as it moves through downtown Mogadishu on 22 October 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
21 Oct 2011

This collection depicts Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in 2011 and 2012 as part of the African Union forces under a UN mandate African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The battles were a turning point in the war as Al Shabaab was first driven out of Mogadishu and later forced to retreat from Afgoye, a strategic town 30 kilometres north of Mogadishu.
AMISOM was formed initially by Ugandan and Burundian troops in Mogadishu, and later joined by Kenyan, Ethiopian, Djiboutian and Sierra Leonian troops, suffering heavy losses during the brutal fighting in and around Mogadishu.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 13
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
21 Oct 2011

Thousands of AMISOM soldiers were killed and injured in the now eight year long war in Somalia. Here a Burundian officer is depicted with the passports of dead and wounded Burundian soldiers after the battle for Daynile district, where the Burundian contingent suffered 75 killed in an ambush. 21 October 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 13
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
15 Oct 2011

The war was dirty and relentless and atrocities were committed. Here two Ugandan soldiers stand in front of the leftover equipment from AMISOM soldiers executed by the Al Shabaab. 15 October 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 12
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
15 Oct 2011

Thousands of AMISOM soldiers were killed and injured through the years of fighting Al Shabaab in and around Mogadishu. Here Burundian soldiers wounded in the Daynile Offensive are on their way to be evacuated to Nairobi, Kenya for medical treatment on 15 October 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 04
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
10 Oct 2011

As a lowtech army with limited budget food for the soldiers was made in the old fashion way on bonfires wherever possible. Here Ugandan army kitchen at the National Stadium in Mogadishu on 10 October 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 09
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
10 Oct 2011

The war in Mogadishu was brutal and ver present. Although Al Shabaab fought back the AMISOM troops were able to capture Mogadishu bit by bit not least thanks to the presence of the T55 tanks that provided much needed firepower on operations. Here a Ugandan T55 ready for action during the battle of the Pasta Factory. The offensive aimed at dislodging Al Shabaab from the north eastern part of the city.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 02
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
05 Oct 2011

Ugandan soldiers play checkers with bottle caps in a semi-destroyed building at the eastern part of Mogadishu on 5 October 2011. The Ugandan People's Defense Forces took heavy casualties in the hard fighting as they forced Al Shabaab out of the Somali capital.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 03
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
05 Oct 2011

The Ugandan People's Defence Forces took heavy casualties in the hard fighting as they forced Al Shabaab out of the Somali capital. Two Ugandan soldiers enjoy a free moment to play checkers with bottle caps in a semi-destroyed building at the eastern part of Mogadishu on 5 October 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 05
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
28 Sep 2011

Moving around in Mogadishu the Ugandan People's Defence Forces used Casspir armoured personnel carriers carrying PKM machine guns and 12.7 mm. Here Ugandan Casspir Armoured Personnel Carriers navigating the roundabout at Kilometre 4 on their way downtown on 28 September 2011.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 02
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
19 Sep 2011

With a UN mandate to protect the Somali Government institutions the AMISOM soldiers provided close protection for Somali politicians in Mogadishu. Here a Ugandan security detail protects the Somali Minister of Defence during his visit in the fall of 2011 to the Somali National Army HQ (Gashandiga) forming part of the frontline in Mogadishu.

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Somalia: Routing Al-Shabab 10
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
29 Jul 2011

An Al Shabaab sniper fires at a Ugandan soldier as he crosses an open area on the frontline during the battle of Bakara Market in Mogadishu on 29 July 2011. Notice the bullet hitting the ground right behind the running soldier.

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AMISOM in Mogadishu 01
Mogadishu
By Noe Falk Nielsen
15 Jan 2011

A Ugandan T55 tank at the airport in Mogadishu in 2011. As part of AMISOM the Ugandan T55s were the main armament used in Mogadishu and were used in both defensive roles inside the main base, especially after Al Shabaab entered the Green Zone at the airport in 2009, and in an offensive role as AMISOM reclaimed territory in the battered capital. In the beginning of 2011 the AMISOM controlled area was limited to around 30 square kilometres in the Mogadishu. Al Shabaab controlled the rest.