Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 10.10.23

A delegation led by ATMIS Sector 6 Inspection Team Leader, Christian Kuker, on Tuesday visited the 6th motorised battalion to inspect their combat readiness. The team commended the troops for their efforts and lauded them for their readiness to protect the local population. PHOTO CREDIT: ATMIS

Al-Shabab Claims AU Profiting from Somalia’s Instability

Somali militant group al-Shabab has accused the African Union and its peacekeeping mission in Somalia of seeking to profit from the country’s instability.

The Somali militant al-Shabab has accused the African Union (AU) and its peacekeeping mission in Somalia of exploiting the country’s instability for their benefit.

In a statement released Sunday, the terror group criticized the AU endorsement of the Somali government’s request, asking the United Nations Security Council to postpone the withdrawal of 3,000 African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops from the country.

“The statement from the African Union exposes the hidden agenda of the infidels invasion of Somalia. Apart from the religion and faith based hatred and historic enmity they harbor against the Muslims of East Africa, the main objective of the African Union and their forces is to make money out of Somalia,” al-Shabab said. “Like assassins hired to kill people, Atmis showed us that they are not a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission, but bloodsuckers seeking financial gain and living off from the massacre and colonization of the Somali people.”

The militant group said that the African Union (AU) troops in Somalia are demanding salary payments from the Mogadishu administration, which relies on international assistance.

“After international donors acknowledged the failure of the Somalia invasion, the African Union started requesting the Somali government to cover the expenses for their operations, including salaries. This is a laughable request and unreasonable because the Somali government, already struggling to sustain itself, cannot afford to pay the salaries of African troops stationed in Somalia,” al-Shabab said.

Somalia has requested a three-month delay in the withdrawal of AU troops from the United Nations Security Council, citing the unreadiness of its security forces to assume full security responsibilities.

The African Union peacekeeping force has been fighting al-Shabab since 2007 and the mission is scheduled to conclude its operations by December 2024.

Kenya Paid $17M for Peacekeeping in Somalia

Kenya has received $17 million for its involvement in the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, according to Defense Minister Aden Duale.

He informed parliament that Kenya has been receiving an annual sum of $3.3 million.

Duale also told the legislators that Kenya Defence Forces troops will complete a withdrawal from Somalia by Dec. 31, 2024.

“The last troops are expected to leave Somalia on 31 December 2024 as per the AU (Africa Union) and UN Security Council resolution and plan,” Duale told the Senate.

Kenya initiated the withdrawal of its troops from Somalia in April 2021, following a phased withdrawal of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

In 2011, Kenya deployed its troops to Somalia to combat the militant group al-Shabab and to mitigate the threat of terrorism and attacks within its own borders. However, al-Shabab has continued to carry out assaults against both security forces and civilians in Kenya’s northeastern and coastal regions.

Somalia Reports Internal Al-Shabab Fighting

The Somali Ministry of Defense says internal division has emerged within the militant group al-Shabab.

According to the ministry, two rival factions led by Mahad Karate and Ahmed Diriye clashed Saturday in Jilib town, Middle Juba, resulting in significant casualties on both sides.

Mahad Karate serves as the shadow deputy leader of al-Shabab and holds command responsibility over the group’s intelligence and security wing, known as the Amniyat, as well as its financial affairs.

Ahmed Diriye, also known as Abu Ubaidah, leads al-Shabab and assumed leadership following the death of the former leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane.

Government forces and clan militias are currently coordinating a military campaign aimed at liberating areas under the control of al-Shabab.

Somalia Federal State Unites in the Fight Against al-Shabab

Somalia’s Galmudug federal state officials, security officials and residents gathered in Dhuusamareeb city to show their support in the fight against al-Shabab.

The gathering aimed to motivate forces to eradicate the militants from the region. The national and regional forces and clan militias attacked an al-Shabab base between the Shabelow and Amara areas in the Mudug region.

During the meeting, the Galmudug Federal State Defense Minister Hassan Gaboobe commended the army for their dedication and courage.

He called for the respect of fallen soldiers.

“You should refrain from sharing images of our fallen soldiers involved in operations. Our soldiers are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us and our nation. Instead of condolences, we should express gratitude to them.”

The minister called upon federal and regional government authorities to visit the frontline and support the military.

“Government leaders should visit the frontline to demonstrate solidarity with the troops. This will serve as a source of encouragement for our soldiers.”

The minister also said that the time for al-Shabab is coming to an end, asserting that their presence in the Mudug region would spell their end, and none of them would leave the area unscathed.

Somalia’s South West State launches al-Shabab offensive

The leader of SouthWest State in Somalia has declared the commencement of a military offensive against the al-Shabab extremist group.

Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagaren, the president of SouthWest State, made the announcement in Baidoa after consultations with regional leaders and security officials.

The military operation is aimed at targeting al-Shabab in the regions of Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shebelle. The move comes amid escalating tensions between Laftagaren and opposition politicians who are pressing for elections to be conducted.

Somali National Extradited Over Extremism

Somalia has announced the extradition of one of its nationals from Kenya for spreading al-Shabab extremist messages.

The Somali spy agency (NISA) said Sufyan Sheikh Ahmed, best known as Takeye, was arrested in Nairobi before being taken to Mogadishu last Tuesday for alleged ties with the terrorist group al-Shabab.

Takeye is popular on social media among the Somali community and its believed he has refused to condemn al-Shabab violent activities against the population.

“The recent extradition of Sufyan Sheikh Ahmed from Nairobi to Mogadishu highlights the importance of regional security cooperation. Somalia and Kenya’s joint efforts aim to create a stable Horn of Africa, safeguarding the well-being of the region,” Somali information minister Daud Aweis wrote on X (formerly twitter).

The extradition of Takeye comes days after Somalia announced the arrest of Zakariya Kamal, who is accused of supporting and supplying al-Shabab with weapons and other materials used to spread threat and terror in the region.