Somalia: Updates from the battle against Al-Shabaab

Images of Al-Shabaab fighters said to be from Jilib, Somalia, circulated on social media recently.

Every week we bring you news from the frontlines of Somalia’s war against Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda linked rebel group seeking to topple the African Union-backed government in Mogadishu.

Three people killed in gun and bomb attacks in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU –Three people including a police captain were killed and several others wounded in gun and bomb attacks in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Police officer Gedi Mohamud told The Messenger Africa that police captain Abdu Weli Sabrie had died after an explosive fitted to his vehicle exploded late on Wednesday in the city’s Wabari neighborhood.

Mohamed says two others including a government official were shot and killed by suspected Al Shabaab gunmen in the capital.

“We launched an operation which was intended to arrest the culprits, who have been behind the assassinations in Mogadishu’s Karan district,” he added.

In another incident, heavily armed gunmen believed to be Al Shabaab fighters attacked the Defense Ministry in the capital, leaving several people injured, according to a witness Aisha Hassan.

Hassan added that heavy weaponry could be heard as a clash between the gunmen and soldiers at the defense headquarters lasted for 50 minutes.

Fighting outside Kismayo

KISMAYO — Fierce fighting broke out between Somali army soldiers and Al Shabaab militants outside the coastal town of Kismayo about 528 km southwest of Mogadishu.

The battle flared up earlier on Wednesday after the soldiers attacked the militants’ base in Dal’ada Luglow area, which is situated just about 16 km north of the town, said Abdinasir Serar, Jubaland State spokesman.

He says at least 13 Al Shabaab militants were killed and several others wounded, adding that a number of others were captured alive during the fighting. The militant group did not comment on the claims yet.

Two people injured in Mogadishu explosion

MOGADISHU – Former Information Ministry official Abdirazak Bahlawi and his driver were injured when a bomb fitted onto his vehicle exploded in Mogadishu.

Tuesday’s blast went off on Taleh road in the capital, The Messenger Africa’s journalist Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare reported from the scene of the explosion.

The victims were immediately taken to hospital for medical treatment. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion in the capital.

The attack comes only hours after Al Shabaab claimed an attack with mortar rounds that rained down on Somalia’s Presidential Palace in Mogadishu.

Mortar rounds aim for presidential compound, kill 2

MOGADISHU – Two soldiers were killed and three others wounded on Tuesday when mortar rounds landed in Somalia’s Presidential Palace in Mogadishu.

Two of six rockets hit the entrance of the heavily-guarded compound in the capital, killing at least two security soldiers, said policeman Hussein Mohamud.

Mohamud said that the victims were taken into hospital, adding that security and police soldiers launched an operation relating to the mortar attack. “Two of six mortar rounds landed into an area close to the building. The other four rockets failed to explode. Two of the security soldiers have died in the shelling,” he added.

Farhio Hussein Shidane, who runs a tea-shop near the complex, said that she could hear an emergency alarm sound shortly after the blasts. Tuesday’s mortar shelling in the capital was claimed by Al Shabaab militants on their website, saying rockets had landed inside the compound.

The group also claimed several deadly attacks that left dozens of people dead in the capital of Mogadishu in the past months.

Five militants killed in Lower Shebelle airstrike

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BARAWE – At least five Al Shabaab militants were killed in an airstrike near Barawe town, about 220km (135 miles) south-west of the capital Mogadishu.

The strike targeted a vehicle carrying militants while they were travelling through Kunya Barow area near the town, according to deputy district commissioner of Barawe, Bashir Mohamed.

Mohamed told The Messenger that a militant commander identified as Dhereye and four others on board were killed in Sunday’s airstrikes.

“Several missiles hit the militants’ vehicle. The slain commander Dhereye was in charge of Al Shabaab operations in Galgala Mountains in Somalia’s semi-autonomous of Puntland State,” Mohamed added.

Sunday’s strike is the second such operation suspected to have been carried out by a US drone in southern Somalia under President Donald Trump’s administration. Last month, the Pentagon carried out an airstrike on Al Shabaab in Somalia, killing at least eight Al Shabaab fighters.

The U.S. military confirmed the strike in Kunya Barow to Voice of America. “We are currently assessing the results of the operation, and will provide additional information as appropriate,” said U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) spokesman Chuck Prichard on Monday.


Reporting by Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare