Senior Somali army commander injured in Al-Shabaab attack
MOGADISHU, Somalia – A senior commander of the Somali national army [SNA] was among those injured in an Al-Shabaab improvised explosive device blast in Gedo, sources said, during a covert operation that targeted militants in some of the area’s hideouts.
Major Mohamed Dhere was leading troops on a reinforcement mission in the Korey area where Al-Shabaab attacked a number of soldiers operating in the area. He is in critical condition according to several sources who spoke to Garowe Online.
Sources said the attack occurred near Bardhere in the Gedo region, which has witnessed Al-Shabaab attacks for so many years. The attack also left three soldiers seriously injured and was rushed to a nearby hospital where they are being treated.
Prior to the attack, according to reports, government sources killed an al-Shabaab operative about 10 kilometers from the town of Bardhere. It was after this assassination that government forces called for reinforcements which led the commander to direct additional troops to the site.
Cases of Al-Shabaab militants targeting security forces are quite common in Somalia, a country that has struggled with instability for more than three decades. The activists target senior security officials, government officials and innocent civilians with IEDs and VBIEDs.
Attack comes hours after al-Shabaab militants also targeted Kenya defense forces [KDF] in the Gedo region between Dhobley and Hosingow. According to preliminary reports, at least seven KDF soldiers were killed, but the AMISOM team has yet to confirm the attack.
Al-Shabaab controls large swathes of rural areas in central and southern Somalia, but the group has lost considerably in the past two months as a result of ongoing operations in the country. Security forces have successfully secured several towns across the country.