Al-Shabaab targeted a HirShabelle official in a Jowhar IED attack. Yesterday, an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion occurred at Jowhar’s livestock market, targeting Dahir Mohamed Kaanti and his security guards. Tragically, Mr Kaanti succumbed to his injuries.
Jowhar, HirShabelle, SOMALIA. By Dalmar:
The militant group al-Shabaab claimed the attack, admitting to killing the senior HirShabelle tax officer in a statement issued by one of the group’s affiliated media sites.
HirShabelle State President Ali Gudlawe extended condolences to the family and relatives of Mr Kaanti. In his official statement, the President confirmed that the deceased died in an explosion carried out by “the Khawarij group”, as the Somali officials refer to al-Shabaab.
Jowhar is the capital city of the HirShabelle State of Somalia. It is also the administrative capital of the Middle Shabelle region. It is known to be an agriculture-rich town.
Increase al-Shabaab presence near Jowhar
Last week, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in Jowhar to address the political standoff within the HirShabelle administration and the recurring inter-clan fighting in Middle Shabelle. The President met with Ali Gudlawe at Jowhar airport and was escorted to the presidency for further talks. Initial reports claimed that the President failed to proceed inside the city due to security concerns.
Given the Somali government’s previous assurances about Jowhar’s uncompromising safety, the initial decision to halt the visit raised eyebrows among some observers. However, Jowhar residents reported an increased presence of al-Shabaab militants near the town in the days leading up to the President’s visit and the livestock market attack, shedding light on the region’s security challenges.
2nd phase of the counter-offensive against al-Shabaab
The President’s visit and the IED explosion occur amid preparations for the 2nd phase of the military operation to eliminate al-Shabaab. The President has visited Jowhar for the second time since the government launched the counterterrorist offensive, which removed the militant group from many areas in the region. The first phase started last year and recorded significant military successes.