On Wednesday January 4th, Al-Shabab terrorists detonated two car bombs in central Somalia, killing at least 35 people, including eight members of a single family.
After government forces and allied clan militias began forcing the insurgents out of an area they had long held, the Al-Qaeda offshoot launched a new attack on the town of Mahas in the Hiran region. Many innocent people lost their lives. Women and children make up the bulk of this group. Out of a total of nine children, just one made it. Many other families suffered the same terrible fate. Many civilian dwellings were destroyed by the two car bombs that were driven by the suicide bombers.
A member of the Federal Parliament’s residence was also bombed, and the District Commissioner of Mahas, Mumin Mohamed Halane, indicated that one of the bombs was meant for his own. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president of Somalia, has proclaimed “all-out war” on Al-Shabab, the extremist group that has been fighting for 15 years against the federal government, which is weak but has international support.
Mohamud dispatched troops in September to aid the fightback after local clan militias known as Macawisley sprang up in July to oppose Al-Shabab in central Somalia. Hiran is located in the central states of Galmudug and Hirshabelle, where the army and the militias have recently retaken vast swaths of land with the help of US airstrikes and an African Union force. Despite the offensive, the militants have repeatedly struck with devastating attacks, demonstrating their capacity to strike at the very heart of Somali communities and military institutions.
Ten years after being driven out of Somalia’s major cities, Al-Shabab is still firmly established in many rural areas of the country’s central and southern regions. This group has been responsible for several attacks on government buildings and hotels in Mogadishu during the past few months.