MOGADISHU, Somalia – Al-Shabaab on Sunday targeted Banadir regional administrative offices in Mogadishu, with the group claiming it was after the city’s Mayor Yusuf Hussein Jimale, who has been in charge of the city since the demise of Engineer Yarisow, a celebrated public servant.
Heavy gunfire was reported in the vicinity of Mogadishu’s local municipality headquarters which are directly opposite Mogadishu Mall, a frequented place within the capital. Security forces are still said to be battling the militants in a fight which started at around midday local time.
The explosion occurred on the backside of the Mogadishu Municipality headquarters which hosts Yusuf Hussein Jimale, facing Mogadishu Mall. So far three explosions and gunfire have been heard, eyewitnesses said, with some reports indicating that a suicide bomber detonated himself just outside the building.
Al-Shabaab via telegram message claimed to have targeted the Mogadishu Mayor’s headquarters with the complex attack but did not give further details over their latest outing. Yusuf Hussein Jimale was not in the office at the time of the attack but Sundays are working days in the country.
Witnesses said intense fighting was still ongoing but the government is yet to release details on the latest episode. Al-Shabaab militants have been targeting innocent civilians, members of security forces and top government officials, partially explaining the complex attack at the busy office within the Banadir region.
In July 2019, a blind female bomber detonated herself during a meeting in the same office, killing senior regional district officials and badly wounding mayor Eng Yarisow, who succumbed to his injuries in August, of the same year.
The attack comes a day after the United States announced the killing of over 30 Al-Shabaab militants at the newly liberated Gal’ad town in northern parts of Mogadishu following an ambush by the militants. Al-Shabaab had announced that it managed to kill over 100 soldiers besides seizing 45 armoured vehicles.
But while issuing a rejoinder, the federal government of Somalia claimed over 100 militants were killed and 5 armoured vehicles seized during the operation at Gal’ad town. Interestingly, Al-Shabaab abandoned Gal’ad and Haradhere towns early last week after they learnt about planned entry by government soldiers.
The Al-Shabaab extortionists have been losing strategic towns, a move that informs their frequent sporadic retaliatory attacks across Somalia. The attack at the complex in Mayor’s office is still active with sketchy details. Garowe Online will give more updates in subsequent bulletins.