The Islamic States (ISIS) terrorist group branch in Somalia, Abnaa Ul-Calipha issued a statement through Amaq agency, the global Islamic States jihadist propaganda channel, claiming responsibility of a terror attack in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
ISIS claims it successfully detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a police checkpoint at the busy and iconic Bakara market in Mogadishu, the capital of the war torn Somali federation. 6 police officers were killed in the terrorist attack.
This is Abnaa Ul-Calipha’s 60th attack in Somalia and the 4th in just a week. Previous attacks were mainly close range assassinations. The main targets were security officers, particularly police and field intelligence operatives working for the Somali intelligence service (NISA). The 60th attack is so far the deadliest. Six deaths in a single attack is significant.
The Islamic State in Somalia (ISS) was formed in October 2015 under the leadership Abdulqadr Mumin, a former al-Shabaab commander and member of the Shura council. The group was recognized by Islamic State as an official wilayat, or province, in December 2017 when it was called Wilayat al Somal. The group operates in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia. So far its numbers have significantly increased to an estimated 600 active fighters.
The group has been able to plant cells in Kenya’s coast and north eastern prefectures. Its most active cells are in Puntland where they train and indoctrinate members. However, the Mogadishu and Afgoye based cells are the most active, conducting daring attacks targeting Somali security personnel and filming them in daylight.
The successful detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED) in the capital Mogadishu by the Islamic States branch in Somalia, ‘Abnaa Ul-Calipha’ is noteworthy if not significant. The death of 6 Somali police officers in the attack is equally noteworthy.
Abnaa Ul-Calipha demonstrated ability to improvise explosive devices and deploy them, undetected, from their safe houses in the capital Mogadishu. The ability to deploy and detonate the explosive devices at a police checkpoint serving the iconic Bakara Market is of great interest. Abnaa Ul-Calipha further demonstrates ability to deploy and coordinate an attack targeting a high value target at an equally challenging environment.
It is highly likely the trend will be consistent. There’s every possibility that ISIS in Somalia will escalate its terrorist attacks in Afgoye and the Capital Mogadishu. While there’s no cases of the terror group targeting civilians, it is possible, foreigners or groupings of persons believed to be practicing or subscribing to Western civilization will be targeted.