Posts by MHD

Airstrikes Hit Al-Shabaab Bases
Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) launched an airstrike against one of al-Shabaab's largest bases, Gadondhawe, near Tulo Barwako village in Somalia's Gedo region late Monday night, according to government officials.

“KDF forces carried out an airstrike against the base killing a dozen al-Shabaab militia. We have received information from the local residents that the militants evacuated the base. We don’t have the exact figure at the moment, but we will capture the base tomorrow and will get the details,” Colonial Warfa, a spokesman for the Somalia government in Gedo region, told Somalia Report.

“While we try to liberate the people of Gedo from these militants, we would like to urge people to be patient and not to show fear because the KDF and the TFG forces have a clear plan on where to target. We have a clear strategy and good knowledge of their bases. We hope that there will be no civilian causalities in these operation,” Colonial Warfa added.

The colonel also urged local residents to assist government forces in the fight against the militants.

“We also want the civilians to show their commitment in these operations and help us in gathering information on al-Shabaab defectors wherever they are hiding," said the colonel.

Despite the reassurances of the government, local residents expressed their concern about the airstrikes.

“I have five children and their father died five years ago. Now I live in Tulo Barwako village and I only have five cows. I can‘t go to graze them because of these jets and the explosions. I don’t know what to do because my only source of livelihood is in danger,” Amina told Somalia Report.

“Before al-Shabaab invaded our village our family had 20 cows, but they kept taking them by force in the name of Zakat (charity). Now I am stranded and don’t know what to do,” Amina added.

Airstrikes in Lower Juba

Meanwhile at least five people were killed and several others were injured after airstrikes targeted an al-Shabaab base in a rural area 40km from Kismayo in Somalia's Lower Juba region, according to residents.

Residents reported three fighter jets fired at least 10 missiles in the rural area near Kismayo.

"I saw al-Shabaab's armed vehicles driving in the city carrying people who had been killed or injured after the airstrikes hit their bases outside Kismayo," Mowlid Arale, a resident in Kismayo, told Somalia Report.

Airstrikes on Al-Shabaab Bases in Gedo Killed Dozens of Fighters
TFG Troops in Gedo
TFG Troops in Gedo

Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) forces carried out a series of attacks on al-Shabaab bases in Gedo region on Monday night, killing dozens of al-Shabaab fighters, including a prominent logistics figure and a number of foreign fighters.

“KDF fighter jets have struck two of the biggest al-Shabaab bases, namely Jungal and Taraka, killing eight al-Shabaab fighters, and destroying three armoured vehicles” said Colonel Warfa, a spokesman for the TFG operation in Gedo region.

In a separate incident, the KDF also struck another base in a village called Bura, near Elgadud and Garabadow village, killing 20 al-Shabaab fighters.

“We have also captured Bura and Garabadow villages, and we can confirm that 20 al-Shabaab fighters were killed in the overnight bombings," Colonel Warfa added.

“The residents told us that that al-Shabaab militants managed to escape with some dead bodies and injured fighters, which meant that we were not able to capture them. Some were suspected to be foreign fighters,” he added.

“al-Shabaab forces have stopped attacking both our forces and the KDF, which is indicative both of the success of our mission, and of the weakening of al-Shabaab as our operation intensifies. We believe that if we reach the town of Bardhere in the coming days, al-Shabaab will vacate all their bases and will not show any resistance,” he added.

A member of parliament, who is on the ground in Gedo region, has confirmed the news of the death of a prominent al-Shabaab figure in the bombings.

"KDF's airstrikes last night killed some foreign fighters who fought alongside al-Shabaab, the most prominent of which was al-Shabaab's head of logistics in Gedo region, Abdala Tarik Casis," Mohamud Abdulahi Waheliye, a member of the TFG told Somalia Report.

“We appreciate the role of the KDF in this operation. They have helped ensure that the region we represent is liberated from al-Shabaab militants. The killing of such prominent figures and foreign fighters is a big lesson for those coming from other countries” the MP added.

Breaking News
Appointment of Sheikh Ahmed Iman Could Signal Coming Terror Attack
Sheikh Iman Ali in Majengo
Sheikh Iman Ali in Majengo
The Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab has named Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali as its new leader and coordinator in Kenya.

The news came out after a meeting held in Afgoye attended by Shabaab's ruling elites, during which Ahmed Godane, one of al-Shabaab's top commanders, named Sheikh Iman Ali as the organization's representative in Kenya. Mr. Ali, according to Godane, has been a trusted ally in mobilizing Kenyan youth to come to Somalia and take part in the jihad, or religious war against the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and allied forces.

Mr. Ali, who is not Somali, is a former resident of the Nairobi suburb of Majengo, in the district of Pumwani, where he established a community organization in 2008 known as Muslim Youth Centre (MYC), more commonly known as the Pumwani Muslim Youth (PMY). Though the MYC ostensibly exists to provide youth with religious counseling, in practice it serves as a recruiter of young militants and travel facilitator to Somalia, according to the July 2011 report from the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia.

In a September 13, 2010 lecture to MYC combatants and other Swahili-speaking pro-al-Shabaab fighters, according to the report, Mr. Ali urged his audience to "cut, peel, and slash" the throats of Kenyan "infidels," and to launch attacks in Kenya of similar magnitude to the July 2010 bombings in Kampala, Uganda.

Mr. Ali, who relocated to Somalia in 2009, has developed a strong network of members and sympathizers in the Kenyan cities of Eldoret, Garrisa, and Mombasa. Mr. Ali allegedly commands a force 200-500 fighters, most of whom are Kenyans, including minors, recruited from Majengo through his religious sermons.

On one hand, therefore, Mr. Ali's appointment is insignificant, with his title merely confirming a position he already holds. On the other, the public announcement may be an attempt by jostling al-Shabaab factions to curry favour with the well-connected commander.

"One explanation is that, because Shabaab is undergoing a leadership struggle right now, certain parties may be looking to shore up their allies," explained a regional Somalia expert. "Godane might be looking for access to Iman's funding and networks."

More worryingly, the timing of Mr. Ali's appointment could indicate that al-Shabaab leadership is setting Mr. Ali up to take credit for a terror attack in Nairobi that many analysts, including British intelligence sources, say is imminent.

"If MYC has been planning an attack in Kenya for a while, as many experts think, Shabaab could be setting him up to take public credit for it," said the source.

Some al-Shabaab leaders, including Islamic Courts Union (ICU) founder Hassan Dahir Aweys, welcomed the naming of Mr. Ali and expressed confidence in his ability to coordinate attacks in Kenya.

“We believe Sheikh Iman is a young and a very religious leader who has shown a lot of effort in recruiting youth for jihad, and we believe that he is going to double his work,” Mr. Aweys announced to a crowd in Afgoye this morning.

In a propaganda video posted to YouTube yesterday (since taken down), Mr. Ali is shown lecturing in Kiswahili wearing a set of green combat fatigues.

“Kenya has declared war against Somalia and jihad should now be waged inside Kenya which is legally a war zone," he says.

The video is currently available here.

Breaking News
Exchange of Gunfire Between Guards and Gunmen
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) building in the district of Bulohubey in the Somali capital of Mogadishu was hit by a grenade that landed outside the compound wall.

The explosions were followed by an exchange of gunfire between the guards and the attackers. A second grenade was dropped by perpetrators as they were chased from the vicinity, which caused injury to two civilians.

No UN staff were injured during the attack.

It is still unclear who was behind the attack, but local officials are blaming the al-Shabaab insurgent group which is battling for control of the country.

Breaking News
Governor Sheikh Hasan Yakub Ali and Religious Leader Sheikh Abdinasir Fired
Kismayo Governor Sheikh Hasan Yakub Ali
Kismayo Governor Sheikh Hasan Yakub Ali

Al-Shabaab has tonight sacked their governor of Kismayo, Sheikh Hasan Yakub Ali, and Sheikh Abdinasir, the head of preaching Da’awa in the port city, during a meeting in the governor's home.

Mohamed Nur, an al-Shabaab official in Kismayo who attend the meeting, told Somalia Report that only a few hours ago the top officials from al-Shabaab, headed by Sheikh Hussein Ali Fiidow, came to the city and called for a gathering of the top al-Shabaab officials in Kismayo.

“Sheikh Hussein Ali Fidow came with a large group of al-Shabaab fighters from Afgooye and met with the al-Shabaab administration in Kismayo where he read a letter that was a result of a meeting held in Afgooye city. Mr. Filoow read that Governor Sheikh Hasan Yakub Ali and Sheikh Abdinasir were fired," said Mohamed Nur.

“We have made these decision to reshuffle our administrations in the country due to the ongoing wars. We also want to change not only the administrations, but also our fighting tactics,” he read in the statement.

The statement did not mention who will replace the two Kismayo officials, but it’s believed that al-Shabaab is planning to name people who hail from the city itself. Sheikh Yakub hailed from Baidoa, not Kismayo.

Local residents who spoke to Somalia Report claimed al-Shabaab had made this move to name someone that can attract more youth to fight the Somalia and Kenyan forces in southern Somalia.

The firings have reportedly escalated the rifts between al-Shabaab leaders as the two men were considered to be high ranking officials in the organization.

Sheikh Yakub could not be reached for comment.