Shabaab suicide bombing strikes near defense ministry headquarters

Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, has claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing that targeted the newly minted chief of defense forces near Somalia’s Ministry of Defense in Mogadishu. General Mohamed Ahmed Jimale, the bombing’s target, survived the blast, but at least 15 people were killed.

According to al Jazeera, Jimale was travelling with other Somali officials near the defense ministry headquarters when the Shabaab suicide bomber detonated his vehicle. Jimale survived, but several soldiers traveling with the general were killed. In addition, a nearby passenger bus was also hit in the explosion. Shabaab’s statement acknowledges that the general escaped the assassination attempt.

Abdul Aziz Abu Musab, Shabaab’s spokesman, said that Jimale “barely survived the mujahideen [attack].” The assault comes a few days after Somalia’s new president declared a new war against the jihadist group.

Shabaab has increased the frequency of strikes in Mogadishu since the country’s elections earlier this year. In the wake of Somalia’s new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, being sworn in, Shabaab threatened to escalate assaults in the capital.

Since February, there has been a spate of car bombs in Mogadishu. On Feb. 19, a suicide car bomb killed at least 30 people at a market in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district. On Feb. 27, another suicide car bomb targeted Somali soldiers at a checkpoint just outside the city. On March 13, another car bomb was detonated near the Wehliye Hotel, killing at least 13. On that same day, Shabaab attempted to ram a minibus full of explosives through a military checkpoint, but the bus was stopped before reaching its target.

On March 21, Shabaab killed at least 10 people in a suicide bombing near the presidential palace in Mogadishu. The jihadist group said on its Shahada News Agency Telegram channel that the suicide bombing targeted a “gathering of officers, officials, and government militias” at a checkpoint near the palace. [See Threat Matrix report, Shabaab suicide bombing strikes near presidential palace.]

Attacks in Mogadishu serve as a reminder that the jihadist group retains the ability to strike in high-security areas. Since 2014, Shabaab has attacked the parliament, the president’s compound, and a high security intelligence headquarters. In June 2013, a Shabaab team struck at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) compound in Mogadishu; several UNDP employees were killed and the jihadist group briefly took over the compound. And in 2010, Shabaab was even able to launch a suicide assault on an African Union medical clinic in the Mogadishu airport.

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • laurent le bloa says:

    Ramming a bomb laden vehicle in a convoy is a recent modus operandi in Somalia It seems that first attempt of this kind occured in 2016, november the 18th: A vehicle loaded with explosives rammed into a military truck near the entrance of the Ministry of Defence killing the head of the 3rd battalion in the Somali National Army Roble Mohamed Jima’ale. Several attacks following the same pattern occured since to.
    This attack shows the capacity of Al Shabaab’s adaptation to commit its attempts. High Value Targets (Ministries, F.O. Bases, police HQ)’s security measures having been hardened, as well as soft target ( Hôtel, restaurants), some suicide-attacks have been unsuccessful, even by using more powerful explosive device, or by using several vehicles. From now they are attacking targets at the time to go out or enter Base (a particularly sensitive moment, due to the checking operations) as well on itinerary.
    The city of Mogadishu becamed the main battlefield for Al Shabaab. The battle of Mogadishu is a major stake to weaken Al Shabaab. It is a stake in security but also the means to deprive Al Shabaab of its main weapon: the terror wich it’s ruling over Somalian People.
    Ir seems justified to wonder about the new strategy which wants apply the President of the United States. Will intensify the precision strikes help to pacify Mogadishu’s town?.The battle of Mogadishu is a challenge because in XXIst Century most of the Peoples are living in large cities in Western Countries as in Africa and in Asia. War in city is probably the next war-model in front of us. Another challenge it is to find a strategy to counter a new threat. Several elements indicate that in Eastern Africa, hybridization of both movements, Al Qaeda and ISIL, is on way

  • Mark Adkins says:

    “Attacks in Mogadishu serve as a reminder that the jihadist group retains the ability to strike in high-security areas.”

    A possible reason (from an article dated September 2012):

    “Confidential sources say that members of Al Shabaab group have prepared a “planned infiltration” of Somali security forces in Mogadishu, in consort with Islamist elements associated with recently elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Garowe Online reports.”



Islamic state



Al shabaab

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