Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 02.06.24

Screenshot of one of the pro-al-Shabab websites.

Somalia Cracks Down on Al-Shabab Affiliated Websites   

The Somali government has shut down a website that spreads al-Shabab messages and propaganda.

The Mogadishu administration announced the closure of 14 online websites affiliated with the militant group al-Shabab.

The pro-al-Shabab website has not been able to be accessed since February 4 and remains unavailable. 

Some of the websites were used to spread the news about the al-Shabab attacks against the government and African Union forces. Also, they published audio and video messages of the group commanders and leaders. 

The government has failed to block some of the al-Shabab websites, and the latest block of the online website may lead to some coming back under new domain names to continue spreading al-Shabab messages.  

Somali Army Foils al-Shabab Attack, Kills 21 Militants   

The Somali army says it killed at least 21 al-Shabab fighters who attempted to attack one of its bases in the central Mudug region on Saturday. 

The army said it repelled the attack in Shabelow village in Mudug region.

In a statement the Somalia army said it destroyed at least four al-Shabab vehicles and the group suffered a heavy defeat.

The region of Mudug has become a focal point in the military offensive to oust al-Shabab from central Somalia. 

ATMIS to Start 3rd Phase of AU Troops Drawdown   

The drawdown of the African Union transition mission in Somalia (ATMIS) continues as the mission announces the withdrawal of 4,000 soldiers by June.

Last week, Atmis said it had concluded the second phase of the drawdown from Somalia by handing nine military bases to the government in Mogadishu. 

The plan to commence with the third phase of the drawdown comes as the AU delegation led by the commission’s director of conflict management Alhaji Sarjoh Bah’s five-day visit to Mogadishu.

Bah said the African Union will ensure there will be no security vacuum in the country, and the Somali army has demonstrated its willingness to lead operations against al-Shabab. 

AU troops have been operating in the Horn of African nation since 2007 to support the Somali government against the insurgent group al-Shabab.

Somalia Says it Captured al-Shabab Wanted Operative   

On Saturday, Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) announced the successful capture of a senior member of al-Shabab, Muhiyadin Dakare, who was hiding in Mogadishu. 

Dakare was a wanted al-Shabab operative, known to operate in the Bay, Galgaduud, Mudug, and Lower Shabelle regions.  He was arrested while attempting to sneak into the city. 

In recent weeks, the militant group has increased attacks against the population and government forces, after losing fighters and territory to the government.

Al-Shabab Militant Surrenders  

Al-Shabab operatives have surrendered to the Somali army in the Bay region.

Mohamed Nur Adan has been a member of the group since 2017. He was a driver and a mechanic for the terror group.

Nur who was recruited by al-Shabab from Bur-hakaba district in the Bay region worked in the regions of Juba, Hiiraan, Bay, and Lower Shabelle.

Seven Oromos Killed in a Suspected al-Shabab Raid   

At least seven Oromos and six others were wounded in a suspected al-Shabab attack in the border town of Beled-Hawo, Gedo region.

According to the residents, the Ethiopian Oromo ethnic group was targeted in the Sunday night attack.

The local security forces launched an investigation into the suspected Al-Shabaab raid and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

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