Somalia mosque bomb targets Al Shabab leaders
A bomb attack in a Mogadishu mosque this weekend failed to kill Fuad Shongole, a top leader of Somalia's Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab militia. But the Somalia mosque bomb is taking fighting there to a new level of intensity.
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Other senior Shabab commanders, including Mohamed Aden, were among 80 wounded in the blast, and top Shabab officers Abdikafi Ahmed Abu Maryan and Abdulbaasid were killed, he writes.Skip to next paragraph
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The bomb attack comes at a time when the United-Nations’-supported transitional government has been receiving substantial military support and training from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti in advance of an expected major offensive.
The UN’s special representative to the Somali government, Ahmedullah Ould-Abdallah said last month, that in terms of increased security measures around Mogadishu and reinforcement of the Somali forces, the offensive has “already begun.”
Islamists take pirate port
But the threat of a government offensive doesn’t seem to have stopped Islamist militias from expanding their own territory.
Dozens of captured ships and hundreds of merchant marines are being held in Haradhere, awaiting ransom payments, and it remains unclear what effect the Islamists will have on piracy in the city or on the lives of the sailors, some of whom are Westerners.
“The one thing we know is that the ICU (the Islamist Court Union) ended piracy in South Central Somalia,” says Mr. Hogendoorn. Al Shabab and Hizbul Islam are offshoots of that Islamist government that took control of Somalia for six months, before being ousted by an Ethiopian military occupation force in December 2006. “If Al Shabab wanted to stop piracy, it could. Now the question is what they want to do. It depends on how desperate they are for money.”
Local news reports say that pirate leaders on land were seen fleeing Haradhere a few hours before the Hizbul Islam troops arrived.
Experts say that pirates out at sea may simply set up their operations somewhere else such as the port of Eyl in the semiautonomous Somali region of Puntland, where the government seems to have been unable or unwilling to shut down pirate operations.
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