Huge blast in Mogadishu kills at least 11 including a journalist

Published By ITCT News Desk On : February 4, 2019
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Somalia: On 04 February 2019, al-Shabaab carried out a huge blast via an IED-packed vehicle in the area of Hamarweye district in Mogadishu at a shopping Mall, near the local municipality HQ, Somalia.

Initial reports referred to a vehicle filled with explosives that went off near Banaadir regional administration HQ in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district. Emerging reports also referred to at least 11 people killed, more than 10 others injured, including a SNTV journalist identified as Mohamed Bibaye.

While talking to the ITCT Newsdesk, ITCT Associate from Africa desk, Jasmine Opperman, said:

The sustained attacks in Somalia not only show the continued presence and ability of al-Shabaab to execute attacks but also a government struggling to gain effective control and support. Measures such as the banning of trucks during specific times and heightened security measures in Mogadishu pale into insignificance without the cooperation of residents. Accusations of collaboration of security and intelligence officers with al-Shabaab shows the continued struggle in gaining effective institutional stability, a centrifugal pre-requisite in countering al-Shabaab.

The sentencing of three government soldiers on 05 August 2018 to 5 years in prison for their involvement in the robberies in Mogadishu is just another example of the Somalia National Army in desperate need of credibility. The soldiers were accused of assaulting at Hormud Telecom branches in the capital, taking from $11,354 earlier this month, court chief, Hassan Ali Nour Shoute said. Official involvement in corruption does not end at the military. On 18 August 2018, six top officials from the Ministry of Finance for Somali Federal Government were arrested for corruption. One of them is reportedly a close ally of President Farmajo. The officials were working at the Port of Mogadishu, an important financial resource for the Government. The arrests followed within 24 hours of opening the port. This again showed the reasons for the continual listing of Somalia as one of the most corrupted countries by Transparency International.

While the Government is in search of some sort of consolidation, a study conducted by the Hiraal institute concluded that al-Shabaab “is financially self-sufficient; however, its expenses are ballooned by recurring payments to hundreds of officials and local influencers, many nominally in charge of areas not controlled by the group. The group has, however managed to raise emergency funds to keep it afloat, and has never failed to pay its fighters and administrators”. Quite the opposite in comparison to a Somali Government and AMISOM so often accused of defaulting on remuneration.

A look at recent, shows al-Shabaab continuing to use a wide variety of attacks, relying on well known tactics and little deviation from targets, such as Government officials and AMISOM soldiers. al-Shabaab’s ability to adjust to heightened security measures is noticeable in using assassinations when attempted bombings are at risk of failure and exposure of al-Shabaab as a declining threat. Disconcertingly, al-Shabaab maintains the capacity to seize control of areas and accessing arms.

  • al-Shabaab frequently targets Government buildings/head quarters in Mogadishu, with some examples are:
  • al-Shabaab triple VBIEDs Target Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Hotel Hayaat and Sahafi Hotel in the KM4 area, Mogadishu, Somalia – 09 November 2018.
  • al-Shabaab SBVIED bombing targeted Hawlwadag/Howl Wadaag district headquarters, between Bakara market and Sayidka Square, in Mogadishu, Somalia – 02 September 2018.
  • al-Shabaab Suicide bombing on Checkpoint to Key Government Buildings in Mogadishu, Somalia – 25 March 2018.
  • al-Shabaab Twin VBIED Target Dolphin Hotel, next to the Somali Intelligence Headquarters (Habarkhadija) in the Shibis district; Second Bomb at first checkpoint of the Presidential building in Mogadishu, Somalia – 23 February 2018.

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