Byline: Hassan mudane
‘If the leader of Al-Shabaab has passed away the rest of the Game will be nothing’
‘Maska madaxaa laga dillaa’ mahmah Somaliyeed
Muktar Abdirahman Godane was born in Hargeisa on 10 July 1977. He hailed from the Isaaq clan of north Somalia like Ibrahim “al-Afghani” who was another key leader in Al-Shabaab before his killing by Godane loyalists in June 2013. He studied Quran in Hargeisa and won scholarships to study in Sudan and Pakistan.
Godane was a veteran of the Afghan Jihad. While in the Somaliland region of Somalia, Godane had worked for Al-Barakat, a Somali remittance company and the local franchise of Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI). Godane was accused of involvement in the murder of a British couple, Dick and Enid Eyeington, who ran a school in Somaliland.
In 2006, Godane became the secretary general of the Executive Council of the Islamic Courts Union, an organization which was then lead by Sharif Ahmed who is the previous President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.
In September 2009 Godane appeared in an Al-Shabaab video where he offered his services to Bin Laden. The video appeared to be a response to a Bin Laden from March 2009 in which he urged the Somalis to overthrow the newly elected President of Somalia Sharif Ahmed. In January 2010, Godane, speaking on behalf of Al-Shabaab, released a statement reiterating his support for Al-Qaeda and stated that they had “agreed to join the international jihad of al Qaeda”. For his allegiance to Al-Qaeda, the U.S. government announced a $7 million bounty for information leading to Godane’s capture.
Who is Al-Shabaab?
The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin—commonly known as al-Shabaab—was the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts that took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Despite the group’s defeat by Somali and Ethiopian forces in 2007, al-Shabaab—a clan-based insurgent and terrorist group—has continued its violent insurgency in southern and central Somalia. The group has exerted temporary and, at times, sustained control over strategic locations in those areas by recruiting, sometimes forcibly, regional sub-clans and their militias, using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the Somali Federal Government (SFG), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers, and nongovernmental aid organizations. As of 2013, however, pressure from AMISOM and Ethiopian forces has largely degraded al-Shabaab’s control, especially in Mogadishu but also in other key regions of the country, and conflict among senior leaders has exacerbated fractures within the group.
As evidenced by the increasing levels of infighting among leadership, al-Shabaab is not centralized or monolithic in its agenda or goals. Its rank-and-file members come from disparate clans, and the group is susceptible to clan politics, internal divisions, and shifting alliances. Most of its fighters are predominantly interested in the nationalistic battle against the SFG and not supportive of global jihad.
Al-Shabaab’s senior leadership is affiliated with al-Qa‘ida and are believed to have trained and fought in Afghanistan. The merger of the two groups was publicly announced in February 2012 by the Amir of al-Shabaab and Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Qa‘ida.
Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for many bombings—including various types of suicide attacks—in Mogadishu and in central and northern Somalia, typically targeting Somali government officials, AMISOM, and perceived allies of the SFG. Some al-Shabaab personalities have previously threatened the West and vowed to launch attacks in neighboring countries; associated extremists are likely responsible for the rash of bombings that have occurred in Kenya.
The group was likely responsible for a wave of five coordinated suicide car bombings in October 2008 that simultaneously hit targets in two cities in northern Somalia, killing at least 26 people, including five bombers, and injuring 29 others. Al-Shabaab also claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, on 11 July 2010 that killed more than 70 people, as well as a June 2013 attack in Mogadishu on a United Nations compound that killed 22. Al-Shabaab is responsible for the assassination of Somali peace activists, international aid workers, numerous civil society figures, and journalists, and for blocking the delivery of aid from some Western relief agencies during the 2011 famine that killed tens of thousands of Somalis.
The current security situation in Mogadishu:
The security situation remained unpredictable in Mogadishu. While the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Security Forces maintained their hold on the city, Al-Shabaab attacks occurred frequently, including targeted killings and hand grenade attacks, with an increase in outlying districts. While there were fewer incidents of the use of improvised explosive devices, periodic suicide attacks, such as those carried out on 12 September against the Jazeera Hotel while President Mohamud was present, and at the Village Restaurant on 20 September, demonstrated the group’s persistent infiltration of the city. Increasing abuses by undisciplined elements within the Somali Government forces against civilians and each other reflected the lack of a centralized command. This indirect threat left a United Nations employee wounded by a stray bullet from a likely intra-militia clash in October.
Guerrilla and terrorist tactics were frequently used in the recovered areas, including weekly in Baidoa (Bay) and Kismaayo and almost daily in the Afgooye and Merka areas. Al-Shabaab killed a United Nations employee on 27 August in Marka and issued threats against and harassed other aid workers in southern Somalia.
Local antipathy to Al-Shabaab meant that Shabelle Dhexe suffered relatively few attacks. Attacks also decreased in Beledweyne (Hiraan), though they still occurred weekly, and there were continued reports of harassment of civilians and aid agencies in southern Hiraan.
Al-Shabaab became more active in Puntland from late November onwards, undertaking several attacks. Killings and arrests of suspects, discoveries of ordnance and continued reports of troop movements demonstrated the insurgents’ enduring presence in the region and neighbouring Galmudug.
The rest of the Game is over:
President Obama, speaking at a NATO summit in Wales, said the successful strike was an example of his administration’s push against terrorism.
“We have been very systematic and methodical in going after these kinds of organizations” that threaten U.S. personnel and the homeland, Obama said. “That deliberation allows us to do it right, but have no doubt: We will continue to do what is necessary to protect the American people.”
Earlier, the White House and Pentagon released statements confirming Godane’s death.
“Godane’s removal is a major symbolic and operational loss to the largest Al Qaeda affiliate in Africa and reflects years of painstaking work by our intelligence, military and law enforcement professionals,” the White House said.
However, a commander of senior Al-Shabaab Abu Mohammed confirms that the leader was killed in a U.S. airstrike and said “Saturday the militants were meeting at an undisclosed location to pick the successor to Ahmed Abdi Godane.”
Ultimately, the writer has concluded this statement ‘Hadii hogaamiyihii Al-shabaab ladilay inta kale waxbo masoo kordhin doonaan, ciyaartiine wee dhamaatay’