Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 04.30.24

Al-Shabab fighters in Somalia. (Photo credit: Courtesy)

About 100 Al-Shabab Members Surrender 

More than 100 al-Shabab members have surrendered to the Somali authorities following amnesty by the president, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism announced Saturday.

The surrender comes as Somali forces allied with clan militias continue to carry out military offensives against al-Shabab in Southern and Central regions.

“In the last few weeks, about a hundred militiamen and leaders who have long been part of the enemy have surrendered in the areas of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Southwest, Jubaland, and Mogadishu,” the ministry said.

After launching a military campaign against al-Shabab in August 2023, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud offered amnesty as part of the strategy to weaken the group.

“The government is extending an amnesty offer as a warm welcome to all radicalized militants who choose to denounce and defect from the terrorist group,” said the ministry. 

Despite the loss in numbers and losing ground against government forces, the insurgent group al-Shabab continues to carry out attacks against security forces and the population. 

Al-Shabab Member Kills Himself and Two Children in Somalia 

A suspected al-Shabab member and two of his children were killed on Saturday when a bomb he was preparing exploded in Elasha Biyaha, near the capital, Mogadishu.

Mogadishu police spokesman Major Abdifatah Adan Hassan said the explosion happened 16 kilometers from Mogadishu, and a woman believed the mother of the children was wounded and was placed under police custody.

“We are sad that two innocent children were killed last night after a bomb being prepared by a member of al-Shabab exploded inside his house,” he said.

Somali investigators have established that the house was a bomb-making center for the group. 

Authorities warned the property owners to be careful about who they rent their properties to.

In Mogadishu, last year, a bomb that had been concealed in a rickshaw killed three al-Shabab militants.

Al-Shabab Burn Food and Medicines 

Somali militant group al-Shabab torched what they say were expired food and medicines in El Adde town in the Gedo region.

According to pro-jihadist media, Radio Andalus al-Shabab members from the Hisbah unit raided the market and burned expired foodstuffs and medicines. 

The station said the residents and elders in the area welcomed the move.

One unnamed elder told Radio Andalus, “Expired food is a poison that can cause dangerous diseases. We therefore appreciate the Hisbah forces for conducting such operations to seize these outdated goods that are now burning in front of us, and we will continue to support their mission.”

In areas under its control, al-Shabab has established an administration to handle such issues. However, the group has been accused of enforcing its policies through violence against the population.

Six Telecom Workers Killed in a Roadside Blast 

Six people working for Somalia’s telecom company Hormuud were killed in a roadside explosion in Garasbaley outskirts of Mogadishu.

In a statement, Hormuud Telecom condemned the attack and said that its employees were killed in a “roadside bomb attack” in the Garasbaley district.

“Our staff and centers have also come under attack in other parts of the country, resulting in deaths, injuries, and the destruction of property,” Hormuud said.

The attack is blamed on al-Shabab, but the group is yet to claim responsibility for the explosion that killed Hormuud workers.

Hormuud has been attacked in the past year since the government targeted al-Shabab’s finances and revenue, which the group was using and crediting on the telecom’s e-money system. 

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