Shabaab claims assassination of Somali generals

Reported picture of the Somali military vehicle targeted by Shabaab. (Source: Radio Dalsan)

Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, has claimed responsibility for the assassination of two Somali generals yesterday near Mogadishu. In addition to the two high-ranking officers, five other soldiers were also killed by the improvised explosive device (IED) blast.

“General Aden Dheere, commander of the 12 April Brigade in the government militia, and his deputy, General Abd Ali Jamami, and eight militiamen were killed and the military vehicle in which they traveled was destroyed by an explosive device planted by Shabaab,” the group’s statement reads, giving no additional details. In a later tweet, the Somali government confirmed that the two generals had indeed been killed by an IED near Mogadishu.

Somali officials told VOA News that the two generals were returning to Mogadishu following a visit to a Somali military base near Dhanaane in the Lower Shabelle region. The pair had been leading Somali offensives intended to wrestle back control over several small villages from Shabaab.

The Lower Shabelle region, which sits just below Mogadishu, is a Shabaab stronghold and one of the regions where the group is most active. The US military has conducted numerous drone strikes in support of Somali forces in the region.

Shabaab is a constant threat to African Union, Somali, and other forces inside Somalia. The jihadists regularly target African Union troops in southern Somalia and have taken back some territory in the process. The al Qaeda arm has also been able to mount attacks in the central part of Somalia, as well as in neighboring Kenya.

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

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