MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants on Wednesday attacked a base occupied by the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA], officials said in a statement in the recent raid, which still shows the group’s ability to launch sophisticated operations against the government.
Al-Shabaab has struggled to overthrow the fragile UN-backed Somalia government, which has been under siege for the past few years, but their efforts have often been thwarted by security forces. Al-Shabaab announced allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2010, and since then they have carried out sophisticated attacks on security forces.
Reports show that the militants are attacking a NISA base near Beledweyne, a town located in central Somalia, within the Hiran region in a raid that lasted several hours. Eyewitnesses said NISA officials, mostly recruited from the Somali National Army, responded by opening fire on the militants.
The attack left three soldiers badly wounded due to the large impact of mortar shells fired at the base, reports reported. The heavily armed troops engaged the militants for hours before overpowering them, according to police reports.
After the incident, the militants disappeared to the surrounding bushes and are believed to be on the run. Officials say SNA troops have launched a hunt for the militants who have been wreaking havoc in the war-torn nation for the past 14 years, killing close to 5,000 innocent civilians.
This was the first attack on the intelligence team led by former Al-Jazeera journalist Fahad Yasin. The agency is responsible for gathering evidence leading to the prosecution of hardcore criminals operating with the group in Somalia.
While the motive for the attack is still unknown, al-Shabaab is known for targeting government officials, security forces and civilians through small to large sporadic attacks. NISA has presided over the persecution of more than 200 Al-Shabaab militants in military court led by Colonel Hassan Nor.
However, NISA has been accused of helping militants carry out attacks on AU forces working in Somalia.
The federal government in Somalia, however, denied the allegations and accused the Kenya defense [KDF] to bestow “propaganda” against the spy agency, which is critical to increasing the country’s security.