Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 01.16.24

(Photo credit: UN)

Al-Shabab Captures UN Helicopter in Somalia

Somali militant group al-Shabab has captured a UN-owned helicopter after making an emergency landing in the group-controlled Gadoon village in Galmudug state.

“I can confirm that there was an incident involving a UN-contracted helicopter that took place today in Galmudug in Somalia,” UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York at the regular daily briefing. 

“Response efforts are underway, but I think you will all understand for the sake of the safety of all those involved we are not going to say anymore at this point,” he said, adding that “our primary concern is for their safety so we will leave it at that for now.”

Reports say nine people, including one Somali national, were onboard. The militant shot dead one person while trying to escape.

Al-Shabab has intensified attacks against government forces bases after it lost dozens of towns and villages in the past 18 months military offensive aimed at defeating the group in the country. 

Mortar Attack Kills UN Guard in Somalia

Al-Shabab says it fired a mortar on UN offices in Mogadishu that killed a guard Thursday.

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday condemned the attack on Mogadishu’s UN compound, which killed a member of the Ugandan UN Guard Unit.

“The secretary-general strongly condemned the attack on Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport area yesterday,” said a statement released by Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the secretary-general. 

Somali President Return to Central Regions to Direct War on al-Shabab

The Somali president has returned to Dhuusamareeb in Galmudug Federal State to oversee the ongoing offensive against al-Shabab in central regions.

According to the state-owned media Somali National Television, security forces stationed in the Galgudud and Mudug region will speed up the army operations to defeat the al-Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabab, who have a heavy presence in the Galmudug state.

Last year, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud spent three months in Dhuusamareeb to oversee his force’s operations against al-Shabab.  

Al-Shabab Executes Seven Men Accused of Espionage

Al-Shabab says they have executed seven men allegedly spying, including two government soldiers for the Somali government, Kenya, and the United States.

The men, residing in the town of Jilib in southern Somalia, a town under militant control, were accused of sharing information with government and foreign forces.

The militant group said among the men killed was a 55-year-old man who was spying for the US.

The execution of the men comes amid increased pressure on al-Shabab from government forces and allied airstrikes targeting their commanders, members, and hideouts.

Former Regional Minister Survives al-Shabab Bomb Attack

A former minister from the semi-autonomous Puntland region narrowly escaped a bomb attack by al-Shabab in the coastal city of Bosaso. 

The militant group claimed responsibility for targeting the ex-security minister, Ibrahim Artan Haji Bakin, with explosives at his residence on Sunday night, injuring one of his guards. 

The group also said it carried out an attack against Puntland police forces, wounding two officers in Bosaso. 

Somali Spy Agency Target al-Shabab Websites

The National Intelligence and Security Agency conducted a security operation in Baladweyne, the capital of the Hiran region, targeting a website associated with the terrorist organization Al-Shabaab. 

The insurgent group were planning to move from Hiiraan region to Galgaduud region, where an operation is underway to eliminate them.

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