Top Al-Shabaab Leader Killed In Joint Operation

Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa.

 

The Somali government announced on Monday a top Al-Shabaab militant, who had a $3.0-million US bounty on his head, had been killed in a joint air strike in southern Somalia.

The drone strike on October 1, launched by the Somali army and international security partners, killed Abdullahi Yare near the coastal town of Haramka, the ministry of information said in a statement dated Sunday but posted online on Monday.

“This leader… was the head preacher of the group and one of the most notorious members of the Shabab group,” it said.

“He was former head of the Shura council and the group’s director for finances,” the ministry said, referring to a powerful consultation body within Al-Shabaab.

A co-founder of the Al-Qaeda-linked group, Yare was believed to be next in line to take over the leadership of the movement from its ailing chief Ahmed Diriye, according to the ministry.

“His elimination is like a thorn removed from Somalia as a nation,” the ministry said.

READ ALSOBurkina Junta Leader Resigns, Flees After Coup

Yare was one of seven leaders named by the United States on its most-wanted list in 2012. Washington offered three million dollars for his capture.

The announcement of the strike comes weeks after Somalia’s recently elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed to stage all-out war on the jihadists, following a string of deadly attacks. They include a 30-hour hotel siege in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed 21 people.

Mohamud last month urged citizens to stay away from areas controlled by Al-Shabaab as he vowed to ratchet up offensives against the militants.

US forces have in the past partnered with African Union soldiers and Somali troops in counterterrorism operations, and have conducted frequent raids and drone strikes on Al-Shabaab training camps throughout Somalia.

Last month, the US military said it had killed 27 jihadist fighters in an air strike near Bulobarde, the main town on the road linking Mogadishu to Beledweyne, a key city on the border with Ethiopia.

It said the air strike was carried out “at the request” of the Somali government.

Al-Shabaab, which espouses a strict version of sharia or Islamic law, has waged a bloody insurrection against the Mogadishu government for 15 years and remains a potent force despite an African Union operation against the group.

Its fighters were ousted from the capital in 2011 but continue to stage attacks on military, government and civilian targets.

The group last week claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed a top Somali police officer near the Al-Shabaab-controlled village of Bursa, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of Mogadishu.

AFP

Somali Leaders Reject ‘Illegal’ Oil Deal With US Company

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As President
A photo of the Somalian flag.

 

Somalia’s President and premier have declared null and void a deal signed by their energy minister with a US company to explore for oil and gas off the coast of the troubled Horn of Africa nation.

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed and Coastline Exploration Ltd had announced on Saturday seven production sharing agreements (PSAs) covering deepwater offshore blocks.

Ahmed hailed it as a “huge moment” for Somalia, one of the poorest countries in the world, which is in the grip of a political crisis over long-delayed elections and also battling a jihadist insurgency.

Read Also: China Helps Virus-Ravaged Hong Kong Build Isolation Units

“Recently completed seismic programmes indicate that Somalia has the potential to become a significant oil and gas producing country,” he said in a statement.

The PSAs “will have an immediate positive effect on the country”, he said, and are expected to generate tens of millions of dollars for federal and state coffers.

But both Somalia’s president and prime minister — who are often at loggerheads — swiftly denounced the deal late Saturday.

The office of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmajo, said it flouted a decree that bans the signing of any agreements with foreign governments or entities during the election period.

“Therefore the agreement which the minister signed is null and void,” it said in a statement.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble also dismissed the agreement as “illegal, unacceptable” in a post on Twitter, saying he would “take all appropriate measures to protect our national resources”.

Somalia is plodding through an election process that is more than a year overdue and has been marred by violence, including an attack Saturday in the central town of Beledweyne that killed 14 people on the eve of a round of voting for parliamentary seats there.

Coastline, which is based in Houston, Texas, had hailed the deal as a “defining moment” for Somalia, which has so far not produced oil or gas although exploration started in the 1950s before being derailed by the civil war.

“Somalia contains the largest remaining unexplored set of basins situated in warm waters in the world,” Coastline chief executive W. Richard Anderson said in a statement.

There was no immediate response from Coastline to requests for comment about the Somali leaders’ reaction to the deal.

Five Killed In Car Bombing In Somalia Capital

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As President
Somalia’s flag.

 

Five people were killed and over a dozen injured in a car bombing near a school in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Thursday, a security official said, in the latest attack to hit the troubled country.

“There was a car bomb blast… the death of five people was confirmed and 15 others were wounded”, security official Mohamed Abdillahi told AFP, adding that 11 students were among the injured victims.

“We don’t know the target of the attack… (but) there was a private security escort vehicle passing by the area,” he added.

The director of Mogadishu’s Aamin ambulance service, Abdikadir Abdirahman, shared photos of the rubble-strewn scene on Twitter, calling the bombing “a tragedy”.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blast, but the jihadist Al-Shabaab group has claimed other bombings in Mogadishu, including a deadly attack on Saturday that killed a prominent Somali journalist.

Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, the director of government-owned Radio Mogadishu, was a fierce critic of the Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Al-Shabaab, which has been waging a violent insurgency against the country’s fragile government since 2007, claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in a statement, saying its fighters had long pursued the journalist.

Al-Shabaab controlled the capital until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but it still holds territory in the countryside and launches frequent attacks against government and civilian targets in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

AFP

Five Dead In Mogadishu Bombing Targeting Police Chief

Medical workers arrive at the scene of a suicide car bomb attack that targeted the city’s police commissioner in Mogadishu, on July 10, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

 

Top Somali police chief on Saturday survived an assassination bid by Al-Shabaab militants in a powerful car bomb blast in Mogadishu that left five people dead and a trail of destruction.

The bomber, using an explosives-laden vehicle, struck regional police commissioner Farhan Mohamud’s motorcade at a busy intersection in the capital, Somali police spokesman Sadiiq Dudishe told AFP.

The attack was claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab Islamist group, which has been fighting to topple Somalia’s federal government for years and has carried out waves of attacks.

The blast tore through walls near the busy road, ripping off roof panels and leaving the area littered with shells of charred cars.

READ ALSO: Niger Sets Goal Of Returning 130,000 Nigerian Refugees By Year-End

Dudishe said five people died and nine others were wounded but the police commander — who headed the force in the Benadir region that encompasses Mogadishu — survived unscathed.

“The objective of the terrorists was to get rid of the targeted police commander, other officers with him, and any other civilian bystanders,” he said.

Mohamud — who had previously led a special police unit carrying out anti-Shabaab operations — was in April promoted to the rank of general and nominated as the overall commander of police in Benadir.

He replaced his former boss who had been sacked for trying to stop a parliamentary session.

 

– Narrow escape –

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, saying in a statement the blast killed and wounded a “large number” of the police chief’s guards and destroyed multiple vehicles.

Mire Adan, who was a few metres from the scene, said the explosion “caused huge devastation and casualties of both police and civilians”.

“The whole area is messed up with smoke as the blast caused fire and I saw several dead bodies most of them civilians,” said another witness Osman Adan.

Tuk-tuk driver Muktar Ganey said he only narrowly missed Saturday’s blast because he was held up in traffic.

“I was transporting some clients to a shop close to the busy intersection when the blast occurred. I was very lucky that I was delayed in the traffic jam a few minutes before it occurred. Otherwise, I would be dead or wounded by now,” said Ganey.

The jihadist group has been fighting to overthrow the federal government since 2007 and launches frequent attacks against government and civilian targets.

It controlled the capital until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but still holds territory in the countryside.

Last week, Al-Shabaab fighters staged an assault on a crowded tea shop in the capital just a few hundreds of metres from the headquarters of the Somali Intelligence Agency.

The attack at the cafe, often frequented by members of the Somali security forces, killed 10 people and wounded dozens.

AFP

Death Toll In Somalia Bombing Rises To 81

Somali men help to unload a victim, that was injured during a car bombing attack, at the Madina Hospital in Mogadishu, on December 28, 2019.  Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP

 

The death toll from a massive car bomb in the Somali capital has risen to 81, a government spokesman said Monday, as rescue workers pursued their search for the missing.

The bombing Saturday at a busy intersection in Mogadishu was the country’s deadliest attack in two years.

No one has claimed responsibility, though President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed blamed Islamist group Al-Shabaab, which has regularly carried out car bombings and other attacks as part of its decade-long bid to topple the internationally-backed government.

“The overall number of the dead stands at 81 currently. Two more people died from their injuries,” Ismail Muktar, a spokesman for Somalia’s information ministry, told AFP Monday.

One of the new fatalities was among the injured who had been evacuated to Turkey via a Turkish military plane on Sunday, Muktar said.

Muktar said the death toll could climb further as rescue operations entered a third day.

Around two dozen people were listed as missing after the attack, but 12 have been located — five of them dead — and the rest remain unaccounted for, he said.

Some 125 people were injured in Saturday’s blast, a caseload that has overwhelmed health facilities in Mogadishu.

At least 16 of those killed were students from the capital’s private Banadir University, who had been travelling on a bus when the car bomb detonated.

The attack was the biggest to hit Somalia since a truck exploded in 2017 near a fuel tanker in Mogadishu, creating a fireball that killed over 500 people.

Al-Shabaab was blamed for that strike too, though it never formally claimed responsibility — as it often does not do when there is a large amount of civilian casualties.

The United States military said Sunday it had killed four “terrorists” in three airstrikes targeting Al-Shabaab.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said two militants were killed and two vehicles destroyed in Qunyo Barrow, while two more militants were killed in Caliyoow Barrow.

The US regularly carries out airstrikes in Somalia, though the frequency of such operations has risen sharply this year.

In an April statement AFRICOM said it had killed more than 800 people in 110 strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

AFP

Nine Killed In Somali Market Car Bombing

Burning of cars at the scene where a car bomb exploded in Mogadishu,/ AFP

 

At least nine people were killed and several wounded when a car loaded with explosives blew up near a mall in a busy market in the Somali capital on Monday, police said.

“The blast occurred close to Mogadishu mall and it has caused death and destruction. Nine civilians were confirmed dead and several others are wounded,” police officer Ahmed Moalin Ali said.

 

Eight Soldiers Killed In Attack On Army Base

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As President

 

At least eight Somali soldiers were killed when the Al-Shabaab jihadist group overran their military camp on the outskirts of the town of Kismayo early Saturday, military officials and local elders said.

According to the sources, heavily-armed Shabaab militants launched a dawn raid on the military camp, followed by a heavy exchange of gunfire which lasted hours.

“The terrorists attacked Bulogagdud military base using heavy weaponry and explosives. The Somali military and Jubaland forces resisted the enemy before later retreating back from the base,” Mohamed Abdikarin, a Somali military official told AFP by phone,

“Six soldiers were killed during the attack and two others died after a booby-trapped vehicle was detonated when the forces retook control of the base,” he added.

Sources at nearby villages said the militants looted the camp and took a military vehicle.

“Al-Shabaab fighters secured control of the base and looted everything. They have set fire to the arms depots and took a military vehicle, but there were two choppers which carried out air strikes during the attack,” traditional elder Hassan Rashid told AFP.

The US military has stepped up airstrikes against Shabaab since 2017.

Suleyman Isse, another witness at a nearby village, said the Somali forces later regrouped after receiving reinforcement from Kismayo and returned to the base.

“The Somali forces retook control of the base with the assistance of military helicopters belonging to the US special forces which were hovering over the area even after the attack,” he said.

Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed to have killed 42 soldiers.

The incident came a day after Shabaab said it had attacked Ethiopian troops in Somalia in an ambush attack on the road between the capital and the southwest town of Baidoa.

The Shabaab have been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu and on Tuesday carried out a deadly attack in neighbouring Kenya, which it has regularly targeted since Nairobi sent troops into Somalia.

Four gunmen and a suicide bomber left 21 dead and injured 28 in Nairobi.

AFP

Suspected Car Bomb Hits Somali’s Govt Office

A Somali soldier is seen at the car bomb scene on September 2, 2018, in Mogadishu. A suicide car bomb killed three security guards and injured several more people in the heart of the Somali capital Mogadishu. Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP

 

A suspected car bomb exploded outside a local government office in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday, leveling buildings and leaving an unknown number wounded, police said.

“The blast was huge and the initial information we are getting indicates it was a car loaded with explosives that targeted the Hodan district headquarters,” said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed.

He said a vehicle had rammed a security checkpoint then exploded.

“We don’t have the exact number of the casualties but there was a collapsed building under which people are injured,” he said.

The thick plume of smoke thrown up by the blast could be seen across the city.

“It caused a huge blast and there was dust everywhere,” said Osman Ali, who was close to the scene of the explosion.

“I saw four wounded people being rushed to the hospital.”

Images from the scene showed collapsed buildings — including a mosque — with rescue workers and civilians picking through the debris.

AFP

U.S. Extends Stay For Somali Immigrants

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) headquarters in Washington.

 

The Trump administration said on Thursday it would allow some 500 Somalis to remain in the United States for at least another 18 months under protected status given violence in their home county.

Somalis in the United States with Temporary Protected Status will be able to re-register for an extension of their status through March 17, 2020, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The status grants beneficiaries the ability to legally work while they are in the United States.

“After carefully reviewing conditions in Somalia with interagency partners, (DHS) Secretary (Kirstjen) Nielsen determined the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that support Somalia’s current designation for TPS continue to exist,” the statement said.

The Trump administration has shown a deep skepticism toward the temporary protected status program, announcing its end for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Sudan since President Donald Trump took office last year.

Car Explodes As Police Shoots Speeding Car In Somali

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As President

 

A speeding car exploded in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday after it was shot at by police near the president’s residence, a police officer said.

“The police suspected the speeding car, fired at it and so it exploded outside the hotels near the presidential palace,” Major Mohamed Hussein told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear what the car contained.

In past incidents, al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab had used car bombs to target government buildings in the capital.

Al Shabaab wants to topple Somalia’s central government, expel the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM and establish a government based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Nearly 30 Dead As Truck Bomb Rocks Somali Capital

Men and Somalian soldiers rescue victims on the site of the explosion. Mohamed ABDIWAHAB / AFP

A truck bomb exploded outside a hotel at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu on Saturday causing widespread devastation that left about 30 dead.

“Initial reports from emergency departments indicate more than 20 bodies picked up off the street and many more are under the wreckage of buildings destroyed by the blast”, said Ibrahim Mohamed, a senior police officer.

Government security official Mohamed Aden said that bombing took place in a busy part of the city.

“There was a huge blast caused by a truck loaded with explosives. It went off at the entrance of a hotel alongside the K5 intersection,” he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Al-Qaeda aligned Shabaab carries out frequent suicide bombings in the capital and elsewhere as it fights to overthrow the internationally-backed government.

Witnesses said the blast, which threw a thick cloud of smoke into the sky that could be seen across the city, badly damaged a nearby hotel and left scenes of devastation on the busy road.

“This was very horrible, the bomb went off alongside the busy road and left many people dead. I saw several dead bodies strewn about but could not count them,” said witness Ismail Yusuf.
“It was horrible.”

Emergency services were overwhelmed as they sought to respond to the bombing.

“This was very horrible incident. The emergency team don’t even know how many people they have collected because of the high number of the casualties,” said Abdukadir Haji Aden, director of Mogadishu’s main Amin Ambulance Service.

“They have collected tens of dead and injured and the work is still ongoing,” he said.
– Widespread devastation-

The so-called “Kilometre 5” junction is in the Hodan district, a bustling commercial part of the city with many shops, hotels and businesses.

The explosion occurred outside the Safari Hotel, a popular place but not one that is commonly used by government officials. It is not known whether the hotel was the target on this occasion, but in the past the Shabaab has frequently attacked hotels where officials stay.

In any case, the devastation caused was widespread. Muhidin Ali, a Mogadishu resident who was close by at the time said it was, “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area.”

“There were dead bodies everywhere and injured people were screaming, some of them from under the rubble of destroyed buildings,” said Fadumo Dahir, a witness.

“The whole area looks like a scene from a war,” said Ahmed Bare, another witness.

The Shabaab was forced out of the capital six years ago by African Union and Somali troops, and subsequently lost control of major towns across southern Somalia.

However, the militants continue to control rural areas and launch attacks on military, government and civilian targets in Somalia, as well as terrorist raids in neighbouring Kenya.

Saturday’s blast comes two days after Somalia’s defence minister and army chief both resigned from their posts without explanation.

Somali Troops Flee To Kenya To Escape Shabaab Attack

Somali soldiers, some of them wounded, fled across the border into Kenya during an attack by Islamic militants on the town of Bulo Hawo on Monday, security sources said.

At least 12 people died when fighters from the Al-Qaeda-aligned Shabaab group attacked the border town, according to witnesses, while many soldiers fled westward a few kilometres to the Kenyan town of Mandera.

“We have several of the soldiers from Somalia who ran to Kenya after the attack,” said Mohamud Saleh, regional coordinator for north eastern Kenya. “Some are injured and have been taken to hospital.”

Another regional security official, who did not want to be named, said the Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers numbered “more than 100”.

The assault on Bulo Hawo followed standard Shabaab procedure with a vehicle-borne improvised bomb exploding at the entrance to the town’s main military post, followed by a coordinated attack by militants from several directions.

“Shabaab militants attacked Bulo Hawo early this morning and heavy fighting erupted inside the town,” said Ibrahim Dahir, a Somali army officer in the area.

Abdukadir Moalim, a local elder, said at least 12 people were killed, “most of them combatants”.

Bulo Hawo resident Ahmed Omar said that lacking reinforcements the SNA soldiers, left the town “and some of them crossed the border with Kenya”.

The militants stole vehicles and weapons before withdrawing.

In a statement translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, Shabaab claimed responsibility for the raid saying it killed 30 soldiers and released 35 prisoners from jail.

Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu for the last 10 years, and also carries out occasional terrorist attacks in neighbouring Kenya.

Somalia’s army is supported by a 22,000-strong African Union force while the US also carries out drone strikes against Shabaab commanders and has, in recent months, played an increasing role in Somali commando raids targeting the group’s leaders.