Al-Shabaab’s attack on the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, failed. Yesterday, around 1 pm, the suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) blew up before reaching its target on the outskirts of Mahaas. The President was in the town to seek support from the Hawadle clan after the Somali government’s failed operations in Galgaduud and the collapse of the southern frontline.
Mahaas, Hiran region, SOMALIA. By Dalmar:
The Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attempted attack in an official statement. “The Mujahideen forces, on Tuesday at 12:50 pm, carried out a suicide attack operation in the Mahaas district of the Hiran province. Leaders and officers led by Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the head of the Somalia apostate group [al-Shabaab’s pejorative term for the Somali Security Forces], are currently stationed there.”
The attack reportedly targeted the base of Ethiopian troops serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which hosted the President of Somalia. Al-Shabaab admitted that it did not succeed in killing the President. However, it claims to have killed an unspecified number of soldiers and officers. We could not independently verify these claims, but the group is known for exaggerating its battlefield figures.
A failed attack
The Somali Digest received reports from the area indicating the SVBIED reached nowhere near the President or any other soldiers stationed in Mahaas. It reportedly blew up on the way to its destination. Nonetheless, even unsuccessful assaults such as this one send powerful messages. It shows the group’s ability to strike near the President and demonstrate that he is unsafe during his frontline tour.
Moreover, al-Shabaab proved its ability to infiltrate the perimeter of high-ranking officials in the past. Mogadishu’s Mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman, died in 2019 after being wounded in a suicide attack that killed six other people. During a security meeting, a female bomber reportedly working for al-Shabaab blew herself up inside the Mayor’s office.