Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 10.03.23

Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud calls for unity and support against al-Shabab. (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Clan Disunity Strikes Blow to President Mohamud’s Anti-Al-Shabab Campaign

The planned alliance among clans in central Somalia, aimed at combating al-Shabab and reclaiming territories inhabited by these clans, has collapsed.

The Ayr, Hawadle, and Murusade clans convened in the Wardhuumale district of the Hiiraan region on Sunday and reached an agreement to establish a security alliance, pledging mutual support in the fight against al-Shabab.

According to reports from Caasimada Online news website, the Hawadle and Murusade clans withdrew from the alliance shortly after agreeing to send dozens clan militias to assist the Ayr clan. However, the clans failed to follow through on the agreement.

The reasons for the withdrawal of the two clans remain unclear. The failed clan alliance undermines President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s efforts to unite clans, particularly in central regions, for the purpose of liberating their towns from the terrorist group al-Shabab and minimize clan fighting over liberated towns and villages.

For the past two months, the president has been based in Dhusamareb, Galmudug Federal State, overseeing the fight against al-Shabab in the central regions and attempting to unite the clans against the insurgent group.

The Somali government launched the second phase of the campaign against al-Shabab to liberate more towns and villages from the group’s control.

Questions Arise Over Arrest of Suspected Arms Dealer Linked to al-Shabab

Kenyan media has raised questions about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a suspected arms dealer by Somali security agencies.

Somali security forces announced on Friday that they had detained Zakariya Kamal in Mogadishu.

Kamal is accused of supplying weapons and providing material support to the insurgent group al-Shabab.

Reports from Kenya indicate that Kamal went missing on September 5 in Mombasa and was suspected to have been abducted by unknown men.

CCTV footage circulating on social media appeared to show unidentified men stopping Kamal in Mombasa and forcibly taking him away.

Some sources say that Kamal was arrested after jumping bail in Kenya, while others claim that he was deported to Mogadishu.

Arms Dealer Arrested for Supplying Weapons to Al-Shabab

Somalia’s security forces detained an arms dealer on Friday, suspected of supplying weapons to the militant group al-Shabab.

The suspect, Zakariya Kamal, is accused of supplying weapons and providing material and resources support to al-Shabab.

The twenty-eight-year-old was arrested by Somalia’s National Intelligence Agency (NISA).

“(He) has been under surveillance by NISA for some time, and finally, NISA successfully apprehended him just as he was preparing to disappear and seek out the elusive hideouts of the al-Shabab factions within Somalia,” the intelligence agency said in a statement.

NISA said Kamal was the mastermind behind a network involved in the illicit procurement of a military container from abroad.

The agency said it successfully intercepted these shipments at the port and airport of Mogadishu in May this year.

Somalia has been subject to an arms embargo since 1992 due to clan conflicts and violence.

Airstrikes Target Al-Shabab Controlled Town of Buale

Witnesses say airstrikes hit the al-Shabab controlled town of Buale, Middle Juba on Monday night.

The bombing, according to the Caasimada Online news website, targeted a training camp, a house where al-Shabab fighters were meeting and the town command center.

Calamada, a pro-al-Shabab news website, interviewed three people who confirmed the attack and said no civilians were killed.

The militant group blamed Kenya for the attack. 

Kenya to Pursue al-Shabab Financiers in Somalia

Kenya has announced its intention to target individuals providing financial support to the Somali militant group al-Shabab, both within and outside the country, to enhance regional stability.

Speaking in Isiolo town Saturday, Kenya’s Defense Minister Aden Duale said that the security agencies are actively pursuing terrorists and their supporters.

“We will deal with terror cells and financiers within and outside our country,” Duale said.

According to the minister, security agencies have prevented many terror threats and attacks.

“We do not tell the people how many security incidents we thwart every hour, every day in our country. We have put everything in place, our forces, every resource and we will not stop at anything to make sure our country is safe and secure from terrorists,” he said.

Kenya is among the countries with troops in Somalia, participating in efforts to counter al-Shabab’s terrorist activities and support the stabilization initiatives of the Somali government in Mogadishu.

Somali Military Court Sentence Two al-Shabab Members to Death

A Somali military court has handed down death sentences to two men as being members of the al-Shabab terrorist group.

The two men, Adan Mursal and Anas Abdikadir, were convicted on Saturday for their involvement in the killing of innocent civilians in Galkayo town, in the Mudug region.

The verdict delivered by Judge Libal Ali Yarow, said Mursal and Abdikadir were apprehended in April during a security operation that followed an attempted bomb attack.

The military court regularly imposes death sentences on people associated with al-Shabab terror activities, while the insurgent group carries out public executions of individuals accused of collaborating with the government and security agencies.

Suicide Bomber Targets Mogadishu Restaurant, Killing Nine

A suicide bomber detonated himself at a restaurant in Mogadishu on Friday, killing nine people and injuring a dozen more.

According to witnesses, the bomber was among those chewing Khat in Mogadishu’s Bar Bulsho restaurant near the presidential palace.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Burundi Troops Killed

Somali militant group al-Shabab claims to have killed six Burundian soldiers and injured one in a Friday night raid on a military post in Bal’ad, Middle Shabelle region.

Witnesses report hearing bombardment and heavy shooting in the town of Bal’ad.

Burundian military forces are part of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (Atmis) operate in sector five.