Somali Forces Drive Al-Shabaab Out of Fresh Areas in Gedo

Somalia security forces have captured several rural areas in Somalia’s southwestern Gedo region from Al-Shabaab, an official said Monday.

“The government troops retook locations between Garbaharey and Bardere and are now in full control,” Abdi Ali Mohamed, a Somali military official in the region, told Radio Shabelle.

Al Shabaab has not released a statement regarding the military claim.

Mohamed said the capture followed an operation by the security forces, noting there was no resistance as Al-Shabaab militants vacated the area following reports of troops’ movement.

The move came ahead of an expected military offensive against Al Shabaab that was announced by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed after Oct 14 truck bombing in Mogadishu which left 512 people dead.

The attack was the deadliest ever single day tragedy in Somalia’s history.

Source: AllAfrica

Al-Shabaab Top Leader Ahmed Dirie Hides In Gedo Region, Source Say

Somali terrorist group Al-shabaab along with their top leaders are believed to be on run from their hideouts in southern Somalia, as large military operations against the militants continue across the country, by Somalia National Army backed by AMISOM and international partners. Mr. Ahmed Dirie, the leader of Al-Shabaab is said to be hiding in part of Gedo region Southern Somalia, after he fled from Al-Shabaab controlling district of Jilib in Lower Jubba, whereby Somalia’s international partners bombarded several times, killing scores of militants.

Gen. Ismail Sahardiid, the commander of Sector 43 of the the Somalia National Armed Forces in Gedo region told SONNA News Agency, that Al-Shabaab top leader and militias loyal to him fled to Gedo region, where Somalia Military Forces are currently searching for them. Sources say, that there is a new conflict between Mr. Ahmed Dirie, the leader of Al-Shabaab and his deputy Mr. Fidow, who is in charge of financial and administration for the group.

Mr. Fidow has influential power in the militant, that is the reason behind the attempt to eliminate Mr. Ahmed Dirie, who is reported to have fled to Gedo Region,” Gen. Ismail Added. The increasing air strikes against Al-Shabaab hideouts caused fear and suspicion between the group’s top officers, ever since many officials of Al-Shabaab defected to the Federal Government of Somalia, while some others have been beheaded by the group as the result of mistrust between them.

Source: Mareeg.com

How drones could be game-changer in Somalia’s fight against al-Shabab

A former member of U.S. military intelligence is helping fight one of the deadliest terror groups in Africa. He is also a pioneer in the U.S. military’s use of drones and is now using that expertise to help Somalia in its fight against the Al-Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabab.

The threat of unpredictable violence is ever-present in Somalia. Al-Shabab’s reach is vast and it is one of the most organized and dangerous of Africa’s militant groups, reports CBS News correspondent Debora Patta.

Al-Shabab no longer controls the crumbling city of Mogadishu, but has still been able to wreak havoc with its relentless bombing campaigns. Their weapon of choice has been the vehicle bomb, like the one used with devastating effect on October 14 killing over 500 people in the capital.

CBS News has been told repeatedly that al-Shabab has eyes and ears everywhere. The group’s members blend easily into local communities, and a seemingly quiet road may not look very menacing but can turn nasty in an instant.

Former U.S. military intelligence officer Brett Velicovich wants to change that. He has donated commercial drones to the Somali police force and is training them to use the technology to combat al-Shabab.

“When they go into different areas to clear parts that are under Shabab control, they will actually fly those drones low and in front of them to look out for roadside bombs,” Velicovich said.

Another al-Shabab tactic is to plant one bomb then, as first responders arrive, detonate another, killing everyone who rushed to help.

“The investigators will actually go out and they’ll fly our drones and they’ll make sure that the area is safe for first responders to come into,” Velicovich said.

Somali intelligence has told us that al-Shabaab continues to practice its bomb-making skills over and over until they get it right.

Al-Shabab footage shows how they test one of their bombs on an African peacekeeping convoy. Drone technology could help thwart attacks like these.

“It significantly alters the way they can do counter-terrorism work?” Patta asked.

“Exactly. I mean, imagine walking into a situation where you don’t know if the people in the house or the compound have weapons or if they have explosives, but if you could see from the air what you are about to walk into, that changes the game,” Velicovich said.

Al-Shabab’s bombs are increasingly more complex and more powerful. Simple drone technology could provide a much needed boost for the over-worked, under-resourced Somali counter-terrorism units.

Source:CBS News

Al-Shabaab Militants Surrender in Southwestern Somalia

Six Al-Shabaab militants on Thursday surrendered to Somali forces following an increasing assault by the militants in southern regions of the country.

Al-Shabaab militants and their top officials are on the run from their hideouts after Somali National Army (SNA) backed by African Union peacekeeping forces and international partners have intensified the military operations against the group.

The militants, who were armed, surrendered to Somali national army and state forces in Dinsor district in Somalia’s Bay region, which is located in the south west of the country.

“The six armed militants had weapons and one technical. They had traveled from Arabow where Al-Shabaab militants are hiding themselves,” Dinsor Commissioner Ibrahim Mohamed Shigshigow told media.

Somali forces backed by African Union troops have been conducting operations in Lower Shabelle region pushing the militants from their main strongholds.

Source: AllAfrica

Al-Shabaab returnee’s horrid tales of sex slavery

A female Al Shabaab returnee has narrated how they were forced to use narcotic drugs and subjected to sex slavery in a Boni Forest camp. Fatuma* (not her real name), says she and other captives were repeatedly raped by at least six men at a time for the five years she was in the terror group’s captivity.

Desperate and alone, Fatuma, a Standard Eight dropout with nine siblings, needed to provide for her two sons. She resorted to washing clothes and doing other household chores for people to earn a living. It is then that her maternal cousin, only identified as ‘Dogo’ from Lamu, convinced her to join Al Shabaab, with a promise of making good money as an informant. She readily accepted the offer and joined him in Lamu after leaving her two sons with her mother. Fatuma* and her cousin sneaked to an Al Shabaab camp in Boni Forest before travelling by sea to Somalia. But on arrival at the Al Shabaab camp in Somalia, she was surprised that her duties were far from what Dogo had informed her they would be. She describes a life of daily sexual abuse and mental torture at the camp. “I was basically a prisoner. Often we were forced to use drugs, especially bugizi (a combination of heroin, marijuana and Rohypnol), commonly used by Al Shabaab militants and miraa too. “If you were lucky, a commander would take you as a wife and that would stop other militants from raping you. But those who were made wives were only native Somalis,” she narrates. Fatuma* escaped from the militants’ camp with the assistance of an old man after her captors left to fight AMISOM troops. Three of her friends and fellow captives at the camp were too scared to leave.
She says they were constantly threatened with death, especially after the fighters encountered the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces or Somalia National Army troops. “The women in the camp had to cook, wash clothes for the militants and undertake other household duties. The fighters frequently physically and sexually abused us. Some militants would beat us if they did not like something we cooked, which was often for me as I was not familiar with cooking Somali injera (bread) that was preferred by the militants,” she says. Fatuma*, who escaped from the militants a year ago, narrated to security officers how they were forced to use contraceptives or procure abortions when they got pregnant. “The sexual and physical violence was worse when the militants came from engaging with the AMISOM forces. “They would drink and take drugs all day and night, whether celebrating the killing of Somalia National Army or AMISOM soldiers or mourning their own, and that’s when the gang rapes would happen,” she recalls tearfully. Contraceptives She says she lost count of the number of times she was raped and forced to use contraceptives but adds that female captives married to commanders were allowed to have children. There were about 15 such children in the Boni Forest camp, she recalls. Born in Majengo, Nairobi, the mother of two says it all started seven years ago after she separated from her husband of two years.
Hiding in the bushes After days of hiding in the bushes, she secured lifts on boats destined for Kenya before being detained by Kenyan security agents who finally released her back to her family after interrogation, debriefing and medical check-up. A year after her return, Fatuma* was sadly diagnosed with HIV and is currently on anti-retroviral drugs and is also being treated for tuberculosis. Her health has made her financial status worse. She has been ostracised and stigmatised by her community not only for joining Al Shabaab but also for being HIV-positive. According to security officers dealing with returnees from the militant group, communities often shun the wives, widows or children of men suspected of involvement in terrorist activities as well as women who are recruited into Al Shabaab. Muslim women who have had sex with men other than their husbands, even where these relations are forced, are often shamed by their communities. Fatuma and many other female returnees are now undergoing a comprehensive Government-sponsored counselling sessions for the psychological trauma they endured during their time with the militants.
Source: The Standard

INFIGHTING CONTINUES INSIDE AL-SHABAAB

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Credible sources in Somalia suggest that there is a growing mistrust among the members of the group, which has led to the emergence of splinter groups within the Al-Shabaab. The splinter groups are on allegiance either to ISIS or remain with Al-Qaida. This has led to infighting within the group, which has seen many Al-Shabaab fighters killed for suspicion of spying on the group.

In April, fighting broke-out among Al-Shabaab factions in Somalia after the terror group executed Sheikh Said Balbul and Abu Karim. The two high ranking individuals had pledged allegiance to ISIS. Following the executions, Abu Musab (an Al-Shabaab militant) released a clip castigating the execution of the two and pledging allegiance to ISIS. The terror group’s dwindling fortunes have led to the leadership trying to align itself with other terror groups. Al-Shabaab has sustained its allegiance to Al-Qaeda for a long time, but the recent alliance with ISIS by some of its mid-level commanders suggest a rift in the group’s governance further threatening its waning influence in certain parts of Somalia.

The anxiety and suspicions among the members has to many especially the younger Somali fighters to surrender and pledge their allegiance to the Somalia government. On 13th May 2017, a Senior Al-Shabaab commander Abdullahi Bahar was killed in clashes between the different affiliates. The fighting, which took place near Baardhere, began when Abdullahi contacted Somali Government officials in Mogadishu in order to surrender. This did not go down well with the rest of the leadership who decided to launch an assault on him. After his death, militants loyal to the slain official planned to surrender to the Somalia Government in order to fulfill the wishes of their slain leader Bahar and act against the whims of his killers.

In another case of internal squabbles, two Kenyan Al-Shabaab fighters were killed as tensions rose between the terror groups’ foreign fighters and their Somali commanders over spying suspicions. Ahmed Yusuf Hassan and Ahmed Nur Abdi Osoble were executed on 2nd April by the Al-Shabaab firing squad in Buq Aqable, Hiraan region after being accused of collaborating with Somali government and AMISOM forces.

Other Kenyan fighters who have been executed in the infighting debacle include; Asum, Jared Omambia a former Moi University student and Faraj Abdulmajid from Mombasa. Four other foreign fighters were also executed in lower Jubba in 2016 on allegations that they were spying for the security agencies.

June 2017, the US government removed Abu Mansoor, one of Al Shabaab’s feared leaders, from its wanted list. This led to the terror group seeing this as a sign that he had defected from the group. The resultant tension saw Abu Mansoor pull out with a significant number of his strong followers and is camped in a mountainous area near Abal village. With the Al-Shabaab leadership seeing the removal of the US$ 5 Million bounty on Abu Mansoor as a sign that he has ditched them for the US government, fighting between the factions is expected.

The infightings are also being fueled by the quest for leadership positions. It is emerging that Al-Shabaabs’ leadership is increasingly targeting foreign fighters in an effort to eliminate them from leadership positions and ensure it is the preserve of local Somali fighters. With the group having a number of foreign fighters in its ranks, local Somali fighters are looking to edge out the foreigners and consolidate leadership. The threat paused by the foreign fighters, is their ease to form the allegiance with ISIS this they have more power from the funds and weapons shifting the balance of power from the older indigenous Al Shabaab who pledge their allegiance to Al Qaeda.

The quarrels have further led to several Al Shabaab combat failures in the hands of AMISOM troops. The militant group has lost most of its territory to AMISOM forces and many of its fighters have been killed in Attacks on their bases.

CONDOMS WASH OFF AFTER FLASH FLOODS HIT AL SHABAAB STRONGHOLD IN JILIB

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A flooded village inside Somalia

Kenya and other parts of East Africa are currently experiencing a heavy downpour that has left many areas flooded and inaccessible. However, the rains in Somalia have washed off an interesting find from the town of Jilib, an al Shabaab stronghold. The Friday 10th October morning saw the local women in Jilib come out immediately after the flash floods and were heard in a rather regrettable tone lamenting in Somali language, “Our children will get sick/infections, what are this?” All this was after bits and pieces of used condoms and packs were washed off after the flash floods following the Thursday night long down pour.

This discovery comes only a few weeks after pornographic content; videos, adult magazines and alcohol bottles were discovered in an al Shabaab hide-out inside Boni Forest. There has also been several rape and homosexuality accusations against the al alshabaab from female returnees who managed to escape from the terror group.

The Alshabaab group who are extremists and self-proclaimed core religious Muslims have only confirmed how far-fetched their beliefs are from Islam, to just a bunch of terrorists misusing and manipulating the Holy Quran for their own interests to mislead, maim and cause damage.

True Islam faithfuls have always stood against these terror groups and are quite keen to expose the activities of these terrorist groups especially in the recent past in order to protect their own in the region