Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 10.24.23

Insecurity worsens, Somalis continue to pay the price. (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Insecurity persists in Somalia, Civilians Pay the Price

Somalia is at a critical moment, says Catriona Laing, UN Special Representative for Somalia.

Briefing the ambassadors at the UN headquarters in New York, Laing said the country continues to experience more civilian deaths and injuries.

“Last year, we saw the largest increase in civilian casualties since 2017. Sadly, early data indicate a similar trend in 2023, with 1,289 civilian casualties recorded so far,” she said.

The Somali government launched a military offensive against the militant group al-Shabab in August last year, liberating towns and villages in central regions.

Despite the government and clan militias success in retaking territories, Laing said the military campaign against al-Shabab faced setbacks.

“In response to its own setbacks, Al-Shabaab has increased the use of 107mm rockets, particularly in Mogadishu. It has also conducted targeted attacks on high profile Somali politicians,” Laing said.

Somalia Launches Fundraising Campaign to Support Fight Against al-Shabab

Somalia has launched a public campaign to raise funds for the army to finance the fight against the al-Shabab militant group.

The appeal was launched Sunday by army chief Brigadier General Ibrahim Muhiyadin and Mogadishu mayor Yussuf Hussein Jimale, urging the public to donate to fund military activities against al-Shabab.

Somalia relies on international community support in the fight against al-Shabab and government daily operations.

Somali Forces Intercept Food, Fuel Supplies Bound for al-Shabab

Security forces in the Galgaduud region of Somalia intercepted food and fuel being transported to al-Shabab militants.

State-owned Somali National Television published photos showing supplies that had been transported on a truck.

Somali officials say the militant group al-Shabab has been blockaded in some areas in the Galgaduud region after the government forces retook some areas from the group after weeks of fierce fighting in the region.

When Al-Shabaab learned that their cargo had been intercepted, they launched an attack on the security forces, resulting in a 30-minute firefight.

According to Somali National Television, the militia suffered heavy losses, with three of their members found dead as they fled.

The Somali government has prohibited the delivery of essential supplies to al-Shabab, considering it illegal, and anyone caught delivering such supplies will face consequences.

Clan Fighting in Somalia Leaves 4 Dead

Somali officials from the Middle Shabelle region say clan conflict among militias has claimed the lives of at least four people in the Adale district.

Clan tension has been growing over pasture and land ownership in the Adale district, Middle Shabelle region for the past few weeks.

As government forces and clan militias regain control of numerous towns and villages in central Somalia from al-Shabab, there are concerns among some observers that rival clans may fight over the newly liberated areas.

Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of the previous Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has appealed to traditional elders and religious leaders to collaborate on security issues and to resolve clan disputes through dialogue and peaceful negotiations.

Somali Military Supplies Weapons to Hiiraan Clan Militias

Somali government commanders and officials in the Hiiraan region have provided arms to local militias interested in participating in the ongoing campaign against al-Shabab.

After a temporary halt in the operations, these officials are encouraging regional forces and clan militias to resume their offensive against the terrorist organization al-Shabab.

The Hiiraan region was the first to unite in the effort to combat the militants, driven by targeted killings of the local population and the forceful seizure of community livestock.

Residents of the Hiiraan region have accused the government of abandoning them in their struggle against al-Shabab, a claim denied by the government in Mogadishu.

Somalia Spy Agency Arrest Seven

The Somali National Intelligence Agency (NISA) has arrested seven people including a woman, suspected to have expressed their support to militant group al-Shabab on social media.

The intelligence agency has been following these individuals from Somaliland after Somali poet and journalism lecturer Nageye Ali Khalif joined al-Shabab.

While Somali security agencies have released five suspects, two are still in custody for further interrogation.

In recent weeks, Somali authorities have initiated efforts to target civilians who are believed to be promoting the violent ideologies of al-Shabab on various social media networks.

Somalia Military Court Execute Two Soldiers for the Death of Civilians

A military court executed two soldiers in the South West federal state of Somalia on Monday after being convicted of killing civilians in the region.

Gedow Mohamed, a member of the Southwest Darwish Forces, and Private Ismail Abdullahi, who belonged to Battalion One Hundred Seventy-Five, Regiment Nine Division Sixty of the Somali National Army, were put to death in Baidoa following the military court’s verdict.

Gedow Mohamed was responsible for the killing of Mursal Ali Abdi and a seven-year-old boy’s injury during an incident on a public transport vehicle traveling from Mogadishu to Baidoa. He was part of a group of soldiers engaged in illicit roadblock operations, where they extorted money from motorists.

Private Ismail Abdullahi received his sentence for the murder of Captain Hussein Ugas on September 20, 2022, in the Hudur district. The altercation stemmed from a dispute related to the distribution of humanitarian aid cards by humanitarian organizations and a personal involvement between the killer’s uncle and Captain Hussein Ugas.

The military court cautioned the soldiers about causing harm to civilians and emphasized that the law would be enforced for anyone who endangers the population.