Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief

Al-Shabab released a video on September 15 featuring one of its leaders, Mahad Warsame, also known as Mahaad Karate. In the video, he addresses various subjects, including the group's ongoing war with the Somali government and foreign forces. (Screen Grab image)

Al-Shabab Leader Mahad Karate Addresses Conflict and Ideology in New Video

The Somali militant group al-Shabab has released a video featuring Mahad Warsame, also known as Mahad Karate, the leader of its secret service known as Amniyat.

In the 34-minute and 4-second video released Friday, Karate discusses various topics, including the recent offensive against his group by Somali government forces and clan militias in central regions.

Karate claimed that al-Shabab is fighting to protect Somalia from exploitation by neighboring countries, and the United States.

He said his group was also committed to preserving Sharia law in the country.

“When we saw the implementation of democracy and a system opposed to the Shariah law in the country. We saw the replacement of the Quran with a constitution written by the West. After seeing how Ethiopia and Kenya have become decision-makers in our country,” Karate said.

Ethiopian and Kenyan forces are part of the 20,000-strong African Union troops deployed in Somalia to support the Somali government against al-Shabab.

Karate calls on Somali forces to repent and leave the ranks of those he refers to as apostates while they still have the chance.

Al-Shabab characterizes the war against them as an evil conflict and urges Somali forces to stop fighting and instead join them in opposing and fighting foreign troops.

Karate also sent a message to parents whose sons serve in the government forces.

“I’m sending a message to the parents whose sons are serving among the ranks of the apostate government. We are calling on them to advise their sons and remove them from the evil they are engaged in,” he said.

He claims that al-Shabab is uninterested in causing deaths and would prefer government forces to join their fight against common enemies.

He said that hundreds of government forces have surrendered to al-Shabab and have been treated better.

The U.S. State Department has offered a reward for information leading to Karate’s capture.

Somalia’s Regional Leader Survives Al-Shabab Attack, Vows to Continue Fight

The leader of Somalia’s regional federal state survived a suicide attack in Las-Qa’amey, Mudug region, where al-Shabab militants targeted him and other government officials, resulting in the deaths of several of his guards.

Speaking after the Friday attack, the regional leader Ahmed Abdi Qoor Qoor said that security forces managed to thwart the attack.

“The liberation operation will continue, and more good news of victory will be heard in the coming days as today’s attack was their last effort and all they could do,” he said.

Galmudug federal state has joined other states in the country to carry out an offensive against al-Shabab which control vast swathes of land in South and Central Somalia.

Qoor Qoor has vowed to continue fighting until they liberate their territory from al-Shabab.

“We have been on the front line for the last three weeks and we will be if God wills until we confirm the victory, and every enemy that does conspiracy and plots something fails and is defeated, and I am sure Al-Shabab will be defeated,” he said.

Somali Government Recaptures Nine Villages from al-Shabab in Ongoing Offensive

The Somali government has reported the recapture of at least nine villages in the Mudug region following weeks of military operations against the militant organization al-Shabab.

Speaking to reporters in Mogadishu Sunday, information minister Daud Aweis said that in collaboration with Galmudug regional state forces, Somali forces liberated a significant area from the militants, resulting in al-Shabaab casualties.

The government regained control of Amara, Badaweyne, Galhare, Hinlabi, Huldoonyaale, Sardo, Shabeelow, Qey’ad, and Qodqod.

In August 2022, the Somali government initiated a military campaign to liberate the country from the terror group al-Shabab. Since then, Somali security forces, regional fighters, and clan militias have succeeded in reclaiming numerous towns and villages from the organization.

Al-Shabab Attack in Gedo Region Kills 11 Soldiers

The Somali insurgent group al-Shabab had claimed the deaths of 11 government forces when the vehicle they were traveling in hit a roadside bomb in the Gedo region.

The soldiers were reportedly en route to Luq town for the Jubaland security meeting when the attack happened Monday.

This incident occurred on the same road where Abdirahman Abdullahi, the chief of the region’s National Intelligence Security Agency, popularly known as Bakal Kooke, was killed by a roadside bomb in December last year.

Al-Shabab Attacks Ethiopian Military Convoy, Claims Over 200 Killed

Somalia’s militant group al-Shabab said it carried out an attack against Ethiopian forces Saturday in the outskirts of Rabdhure town, Bakool region killing 249.

According to a Somali government official, the attack killed 55 al-Shabab fighters, but there is no information on the number of injured or killed Ethiopian troops. Mukhtar Mohamed Ware, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Somalia, dismissed al-Shabab’s claim as propaganda.

The pro-al-Shabab news website Alamada (Calamada) reports the offensive began with an ambush and was followed by fierce fighting between the group and Ethiopian forces.

On Monday, Al-Shabab’s al-Kataib media published photos allegedly showing abandoned military vehicles and a captured soldier by its fighters.

Ethiopia contributed to the African Union forces in Somalia, but it also has troops who are not part of the AU forces that come to carry out operations against al-Shabab.

Ethiopia Claims Killing 450 al-Shabab Fighters

The Ethiopian army said on Wednesday it killed more than 450 al-Shabab fighters on Sunday in Bakool region, Somalia. The army admits the Somali militant group did try to carry out attack against its convoy in Rabdhure town.

AU Hands Over Military Base to Somalia, Begins 3,000 Troop Drawdown

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has initiated the second phase of troop drawdown from Somalia by handing over the Biya Adale military base in Middle Shabelle to Somali security forces.

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has begun the second phase of its withdrawal from Somalia by handing over the military base of Biya Adale in Middle Shabelle to Somali security forces.

“We have witnessed developments on the battlefield where Somali security forces have demonstrated their increasing capability to secure the country. We have seen the forces attack, seize and hold ground,” Philippe Butoyi, the ATMIS commander for Biya Adale said in a statement.

Butoyi said professionally trained and well-equipped Somali security forces are game changers in the fight against terrorism in Somalia.

The handover of the military camp under Burundi National Defense Forces marks the start of a 3,000 troops withdrawal from Somalia by the end of September.

Following the UN resolutions, 2,000 Atmis troops have left Somalia.

Attack in Kenyan Village Follows Military Helicopter Crash

One person was killed and several houses were torched in Widhu village in the Kenyan coastal county of Lamu.

The Tuesday night attack came a day after a military helicopter belonging to Kenya Defense Forces crashed near the border with Somalia, killing several soldiers.

The Kenyan defense ministry said the aircraft was conducting routine surveillance when the accident happened.

“The Crew and other military personnel onboard were part of an air surveillance squadron intensifying day and night patrols and surveillance for the ongoing operation Amani Boni.”

The Amani Boni operation covers the counties of Lamu, Kilifi, Garissa and Tana River. The operation which began in 2014, aims to flush out al-Shabab militants hiding in the Boni forest, which has killed hundreds of people and dozens of security forces.