Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 10.17.23

Somalia president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. (Photo Credit: Presidency)

Somalia Confident of Winning War Against al-Shabab

Somali president short of declaring victory against al-Shabab after more than a year of fighting with the militant group.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said his government is closer to liberating the country from al-Shabab’s control.

“To all Somali brothers and sisters, victory is within our reach today. Let us unite to overcome the enemy. The effort that began in Hawadle and around Mogadishu continues today in Harardere, Amaro, Mahaas, Aden Yabal, and all the way to Ruun-Nirgod,” Mohamud said.

The Somali government launched a military offensive in August 2022 to reclaim areas under al-Shabab’s control and bring them under government authority.

Government forces and clan militias have reported successes on the battlefield, capturing several villages and towns.

Despite the military success, the insurgent group al-Shabab continues to threaten and launch an attack against government forces and citizens.

Two Killed in al-Shabab Suicide Attack

Somali officials say at least two people have been killed, including a journalist, and four others wounded in a suicide attack on a restaurant in Mogadishu Monday.

Witnesses say a suicide bomber entered the Blue Sky restaurant and exploded the device at 9 in the evening, targeting customers having dinner.

The attack killed a journalist, Abdifitah Moalim Nur, a Somali Cable TV channel director and a pregnant woman.

The attack occurred near the presidential palace, an area frequented by government officials and politicians.

Hundreds Protest in Jilib, Over Alleged US Airstrike

The residents of Jilib, a town in southern Somalia under al-Shabab’s control, protested Wednesday against an alleged US airstrike that killed one person, injuring eight, including children.

The protest drew hundreds of people a day after the militant group accused the US of conducting aerial strikes on the towns of Buale, Jilib, and Sakow.

Al-Shabab published photographs showing the aftermath of the attack, which included damage to educational facilities, residential h​ouse and a business providing electricity to the town.

Somalia University Lecturer Joins al-Shabab

Somali poet and journalism lecturer Nageye Ali Kalif joined al-Shabab and reportedly traveled to the group-controlled town of Jilib, southern Somalia.

Nageye has been in Mogadishu for seven years, joining other youth who moved from Hargeisa and opposed Somaliland’s desire to separate from Somalia.

Nageye, who wrote a book titled “Dibad Wareeg,” compares two leaders, the late Darwish Movement leader Sayid Mohamed Abdille Hassan and former al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.

The university lecturer was well-received despite carrying items like a smartphone, laptop, and iPad gadgets the group banned in areas under its control.

Somali Forces Clears IEDs, Roadblocks in Operation to Ensure Civilian Safety

The Somali National Army conducted a security operation on the road connecting Afgoye to Marko in the Lower Shabelle region.

The operation, led by the 14 October Battalion of Regiment 14, involved the removal of numerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) placed by the Al-Shabaab group on the road to endanger civilian travelers.

The military forces removed roadblocks that the group had used to extort money from the public.

Captain Ali Ato, the commander of this regiment, said that the military thwarted multiple attempts by the group to harm innocent civilians.

Somali Commander Survives Bomb Attack at His Home

A Somali commander survived a bomb attack Thursday at his home in Afgoye town north of Mogadishu.

Pro-jihad news website Calamada said the commander Anwar Ibrahim Yusuf, in charge of plain cloth officers, was targeted in this al-Shabab operation, injuring three bodyguards.

A coordinated military campaign is underway, led by government forces and local militias, aimed at ousting the al-Shabab militant group from villages and towns in central regions of Somalia.

The continue to defend its positions and carry attacks against government forces and population.

US Embassy in Kenya Issues Terror Attack Warning

The US embassy in Kenya issued an advisory Friday urging its citizens to avoid public spaces, areas frequented by tourists and other parts of the country due to the potential threat of a terrorist attack.

“Locations frequented by U.S. citizens and other foreigners and tourists in Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya continue to be attractive targets to terrorists planning to conduct potentially imminent attacks.,” the alert said. “Terrorist groups could attack with little or no warning, targeting hotels, embassies, restaurants, malls and markets, schools, police stations, places of worship, and other places frequented by foreigners and tourists.”

The warning comes after Counter Terrorism Policing Kenya, a Kenyan counter-terrorism body, warned that terror groups in the country could carry out acts in support of Hamas.