Somalia: Injured Al-Shabaab commander becomes "unconscious"

The author writes that Somalian government troops and local militias have been recapturing areas from al-Shabaab militants, including ports, that are sources of revenue and weapons for the insurgents. (Photo: File image)

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The recently injured Al-Shabaab commander Osman Mohamed Abdi alias Moallim Osman is in "critical and unconscious" condition, multiple sources have claimed, just a few days after the US confirmed an airstrike in Jilib town which injured a "senior Al-Shabaab commander" in Somalia.

State media reported that Abdi suffered "major injuries" in the airstrike which targeted him and that his situation was "deteriorating on an hourly basis". Details about his injury were reported by the government of Somalia which disclosed his name after the US put it under wraps.

"Al-Shabaab leader Osman Mohamed Abdi [Ma’alin Osman], in charge of recruiting foreign terrorists to Somalia, was critically injured in an operation by National Army and international allies in Jilib district 2 days ago. Suffered major injuries and currently unconscious, in critical condition," state media reported, citing anonymous sources.

Abdi Moalim Osman is Al-Shabaab's head of external operations and is linked to the active recruitment of foreign nationals, the government revealed. As the head of the department, he is associated with terror attacks in neighboring countries like Kenya which has borne the brunt of Al-Shabaab attacks.

Multiple sources linked him to the El-Adde Forward Operating Base [FOB] attack in 2016 which left over 200 members of the Kenya Defence Forces [KDF] dead. The attack remains the most deadly assault on foreign military operating in Somalia and in fact, it made Kenya intensify its crackdown against the militants in recent months.

Last year, military sources claim, Osman was the key figure behind the attempted incursion in Ethiopia, which led to the death of over 300 Al-Shabaab militants within the Somali region. The US has been a key supporter of Somalia's state-building process, helping not just with aerial surveillance but also with training and equipping the Somali army.

On Wednesday, State Department designated five Al-Shabaab operatives as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order [E.O.] 13224, as amended. They include Maxamed Siidow, the finance emir and a commander in the group’s armed wing, the Jabha, and Cali Yare who is also the finance emir who oversees al-Shabaab’s illicit taxation operations for the village of Beled Amin, Lower Shabelle.

Others are Maxamed Dauud Gabaane, the finance emir, responsible for all al-Shabaab finance operations in Wanlaweyn District and Beled Amin, Lower Shabelle, Suleiman Cabdi Daoud, the finance emir, and wali [commissioner] of Beled Amin and
Mohamed Omar Mohamed, the wali of the al-Shabaab group in the Diinsor District, Bay Region.

Additionally, the Department of the Treasury is concurrently designating 15 al-Shabaab financial facilitators and operatives, four charcoal smugglers, and seven of their associated companies, State Department confirmed, in yet a raft of measures taken to cripple the group's operations.

These combined designations reflect the United States counterterrorism priorities in Somalia and support the dynamic relationship we have established with the Somali government to counter the terrorist threats endangering their people and undermining their communities, the department added.


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