General Ali Mohamed Hirsi, Somalia’s traffic police chief warned of the possibility of a suicide attack on the streets of Mogadishu on Monday 31st August.
He issued the warning after the Somali police and the Somali National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) were reported to be causing traffic jams and huge congestions in their security checks on the streets of Mogadishu.
Following recent attacks by the Al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia Harakat al Shabaab al Mujahideen in Somalia and recently in the few cases in Mogadishu and its environs, Somalia’ s police force and intelligence agency have been conducting routine security checks on cars.
Somali National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) in conjunction with the police have been setting up barricades and inspecting cars in the streets of Mogadishu. This has however caused most streets in the capital city to be congested and long queues of cars and motorists.
General Ali Mohamed Hirsi- the traffic chief in Somalia on 31st August however raised security concerns pertained to the endless traffic jam in the city caused by the security checks. He noted with concern that the congestion especially on Maka Almukarama Street (which is the busiest and leads to most important places like the National Assembly and the presidential palace) was a security hazard as it provide favorable terror attack environment.
Traffic jams have in the past been used by terrorists to conduct attacks:
- They provide soft unsuspecting targets for the attacker be it a suicide or a general attacks
- The congestion provides for a large number of fatalities both pre-attack and post attack
- The traffic jam, motorist and pedestrian congestion offers a camouflage for the attacker creating room for the element of surprise
- In the case of a long-range or strategic attack the buildings provide an advantage points to either fire or launch the rocket missiles from
- In other cases, the drivers or innocent pedestrians are hijacked and used as shield for the attacker or courier of the Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (SVBIED)
Security agencies in Somalia’s capital have therefore been warned against creating traffic jams and instead to check the vehicles and release them in the shortest time possible to prevent the possibility of the attacks.