Former Somali Defence Minister Killed in Car Bomb
A former Somali defence minister has been killed in a car bomb attack claimed by militant group Al-Shabaab.
Muhayadin Mohamed, who served as a defence minister in 2008, during Somalia’s transitional federal government, was killed in the attack on Monday. The transitional government Mohamed served brought African Union (AU) troops into the country to help its fight against Al-Shabaab. Mohamed was also an aid to the current speaker in Somalia’s government, Mohamed Osman Jawari.
Al-Shabaab claims attack
Militant group Al-Shabaab promptly claimed responsibility for the attack, its latest plot against key players in Somalia’s political transition. The Islamist group has declared the Somali government – which is backed by the UN – and any nations that support it, as its enemies.
Somali and AU troops had largely pushed Al-Shabaab fighters out of the country’s major cities, but the group made a resurgent push towards the end of last year. That momentum has carried over into 2016, which has seen an increased occurrence of attacks carried out by the group.
Somalia losing key battles in the war on terror
Somalia started 2015 largely in control of key parts of the country, but things look very different a year on. Al-Shabaab fighters recently reclaimed the key port city of Merka, without firing a shot, after Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) troops pulled out of the city.
This came after the militant group staged a number of attacks on KDF bases in the country, claiming to have killed 100 Kenyan troops in the process. Al-Shabaab is known for exaggerating its numbers, but Kenya has so far failed to release official figure to counter the claim.
However, it’s been in Mogadishu where the number of attacks has dramatically increased over recent months. Al-Shabaab fighters had been largely pushed out of the nation’s capital, but earlier this month the group was able to smuggle a laptop bomb aboard a plane, which blew a hole in the side of the aircraft.
Experts have warned that the Islamic State’s push to expand into the Horn of Africa has seen Al-Shabaab step up its efforts to retain control in the country. Fears are growing that a power struggle between the militant groups would have a disastrous impact on national security in Somalia and surrounding countries.