The demise of the Al-Shabaab finance chief in Somalia has been confirmed by officials. The incident took place in a sophisticated and puzzling operation that was initiated after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud activated the second phase of military campaign against the militants. During his trip to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Mohamud outlined his objectives and plan to eliminate the militants who have destabilized the Horn of Africa nation, which has been struggling with instability for the last 30 years.
Mahad Aqadub has been the head of the Zakawat group in Galgadud located in the Galmadug region. He was killed during the operation conducted on Saturday. The officials confirmed that Zakawat officials are in charge of collecting taxes. The military defined the operation as “potentially great success.”
The operation targeting Al-Shabaab took place in Towfiq town, which is approximately 15 kilometers away from the newly liberated Gal’ad District. An informant from among the hawk-eyed villagers, who have been the militant’s victims for years, led to the arrest of the lead militant. During the operation, the Al-Shabab militants attacked the advancing army since Agadub attempted to escape. After running about three kilometers, he suffered a heart attack and died of a bullet that hit him.
Security forces currently hold four senior Al-Shabaab members awaiting military trial in Mogadishu. These four people have been conducting attacks in central and southern parts of Somalia, killing thousands of innocent civilians and members of security forces. The killing of Mahad Agadub marks a significant milestone in the government’s ongoing efforts to combat al-Shabab and restore regional security.
Last week, the National Army killed at least 44 Al-Shabaab militants within the controversial Lower Shabelle region. Somalia aims to ground the group financially and, hence, has activated the campaign to spot and destroy Al-Shabaab tax collection centers. The United States Army estimates that the group makes up to $120 million annually through extortion.