Sheikh Yusuf Indha’adde.
Somalia’s State Minister for Defense Sheikh Yusuf Mohammad Siad collaborated with Shabaab to conduct a dual suicide attack against a high-level meeting in Mogadishu airport on September 17, a senior Somali researcher on the Somali Islamist groups who wishes to remain anonymous has told The Long War Journal.
Shabaab had excellent intelligence on when and how to launch the coordinated attack because the minister, a former warlord also known as “Indha’adde” or “white eyes,” had sold Shabaab the necessary information for $50,000 through a middleman.
The attack took place exactly as the top two commanders of the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, were meeting with senior Somali officials at the compound. Minister Indha’adde was also present at the meeting but left the airport moments before the suicide bombing; later he publicly stated that he “knew”about the incoming attack, according to Garowe.
The Shabaab operation was well planned, ambitious, and expensive. The attackers easily entered the compound driving two stolen white vehicles with United Nations markings. One of the suicide bombers was an American national recruited in Seattle. The American suicide bomber was fluent in English and able to pretend he was an authentic United Nations officer.
Shabaab’s mission was aimed to decapitate the African Union Mission’s military leadership, and the terror group partially succeeded. Major General Juvenal Niyoyunguruza, the deputy commander for AMISOM and the commander of Burundian forces in Somalia, was among the 21 people killed, while General Nathan Mugisha, the AMISOM commander, was slightly wounded.
Minister Indha’adde was a leading member of Somalia’s Hizbul Islam insurgents before he defected to the Somali government earlier this year. Before the Ethiopian intervention in 2006, he was a top member of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and served as the ICU’s head of security affairs. He is in the same tribal line with Hizbul Islam leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, and he has also served as Awey’s deputy and security chief.
Indha’adde is noted for his belligerence and inflammatory rhetoric. He has called on foreign Muslims to take up arms in a “holy war”against Ethiopia.
“The country is open to Muslims worldwide,” Indha’adde said. “Let them fight in Somalia and wage jihad and, God willing, attack Addis Ababa.”
On May 17th, he left overnight with 11 battle wagons from “Pasta Factory,” his rebel base in northern Mogadishu, entered the presidential palace, and joined the Somali government.
Last month, when his former commander Aweys called for more suicide attacks against African Union peacekeepers operating in Mogadishu, Indha’ade spoke out against him, asking “Why don’t you bring your children from Cairo and let them carry out the suicide attacks?”
On Oct. 6, Ugandan police arrested Indha’adde in the capital of Kampala after he entered without an official travel plan. He was bundled into an unmarked car, questioned by security officials, and released only one day later.
Government officers passing on information and weapons to Shabaab
In Mogadishu, the level of corruption is so high that government vehicles and weapons routinely end up in the hands of the Somali rebel groups.
On Oct. 6, Shabaab’s governor for Mogadishu bought from the Transitional Federal Government police a car donated by the United Nations Development Program. The car was registered as police car number 251. Both the Transitional Federal Government and Shabaab are fully in agreement to explain such cases as defections.
The same process occurs with humanitarian aid. According to The New York Times, “American officials are now concerned that United Nations contractors may be funneling American donations to Shabaab.”
The US, alarmed at the prospect of aid and weapons falling into the hands of Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, has suspended some of its support to the Transitional Federal Government.
“United Nations officials say the American government has been withholding millions of dollars in aid shipments while a new set of rules is worked out to better police the distribution of aid,” The New York Times reported.
AMISOM and the Ugandan government in particular – which has has some 2,500 soldiers serving in Mogadishu – are fully aware of the situation on the ground in Somalia, the senior Somali researcher insider told The Long War Journal. But AMISOM and Uganda fear that if they get tough with Indha’adde and some other officials within the Transitional Federal Government, they will lose the Somali government approval for the AMISOM presence in Mogadishu, thus losing their peacekeeping mission funded and sponsored by the United States.
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