The Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia confirmed it carried out a terror attack targeting the Hodan District Headquaters in the Somali capital Mogadishu. The morning attack left approximately a dozen people dead, most of them government employees at District level. Initial assessment confirm that the terror group deployed a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) to orchestrate the attack. Imagery obtained by S.I depicts a macabre scene of an entire administration block completely destroyed. 2 Mosques and a Madrassa were also destroyed.
In this attack we identify a shift in strategy, whereby, the terror group is identifying targets that can guarantee success while limiting number of attackers, which we conclude is a tactic meant to preserve troops. However, the terror group continues to target Somali government staff and buildings, meaning they’ve not shifted their focus on the target rather the strategy.
Hodan District Headquarters is the second administrative unit of the Federal Government of Somalia to be bombed in the month of September. Both targets bear resemblance. They are not only vulnerable due to lack of security forces to secure them, but also located in the capitals geographically challenging areas.
These attacks demonstrates Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen’s capability to morph their strategies with the intent of overcoming challenges posed by counter terrorism operations. It also demonstrates the terror group’s capability to redesign attacks by exploiting Amniyaat and military intelligence reports.
Such abilities pose a significant threat to security in the Horn of Africa country, particularly now that the intelligence service in Mogadishu has been weakened by internal and political dissent.