The Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen issued a statement claiming responsibility for a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device SVBIED attack at the center of the Somalia Capital Mogadishu targeting a convoy of Somali Government Officials, Members of Parliament, and Top SNA Commanders. The attack happened near a checkpoint at Godka Jilacow junction in Bondhere area in Central Mogadishu just a short distance from the entrance of the Presidential Palace also known as Villa Somalia.
5 People were killed including a female top military officer (Fadumo Ali) and her security team. 2 Members of the Somali National Assembly, Hassan Shabel and Maryan Arif, survived the attack. One of the MP lost his bodyguard while some civilians nearby sustained life threatening injuries. The terror group issued a statement claiming it targeted officials of the Somali Government and the Members of Parliament at the Presidential Palace.
The attack comes when the city of Mogadishu, which serves as both the political and administrative capital of Somalia is on a 24hr lock-down to stymie terrorist activity and operations. Also notable is that the attack happened at the vicinity of the Presidential Palace, which is the symbol of political and military power. This can be described as a demonstrative terror attack, one designed to demonstrate that the group is capable of moving cells and mounting attacks at the heart of the country.
Furthermore, the ability to move the SVBIED to the center of the capital and detonate it near a police checkpoint and the target is worrying and can be viewed as Shabaab’s new strategy to counter current security measures in the capital. There has been a steady decline in the terror groups’ capability to deploy explosive devices in Mogadishu after implementation of stringent and robust measures.
But what is more interesting is the death of SNA Commander Fandumo Hassan and her 4 members of her security. Fandumo, is a close confidant of President Farmajo. In recent photos, the female SNA Top Commander is seen having talks with the President and other top military commanders. Shabaab seems to have had the itinerary of these targets thus the successful attack. It will be important to see if Somali Military Intelligence or the National Intelligence Agency NISA can dig out who gave away this itinerary and subsequently destroy the Amniyaat cells deeply embedded in the Government.
This is can be also viewed as Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen watershed moment during this year’s Ramadhan. The attack comes hours after the group published online, a video, part 5 of the sequel, ‘Be Harsh to Them’ and a week after an audio publication of Deputy leader and intelligence chief Mahad Karatey, beseeching the terror group cells to surge but avoid targeting Muslims. If this is to go by, it means the group is posturing and will escalate attacks and possibly surge across the country throughout the cold and wet season.