Somali Security Forces Seize Weapons, Arrest al-Shabab Suspect in Mogadishu

Authorities in Somalia say they have seized a weapons cache allegedly buried by al-Shabab militants at a house in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, during a joint operation.  


A statement from the country’s National Intelligence and Security Agency, or NISA, said Saturday that a “joint elite team from Somalia’s Intelligence Agency and Mogadishu regional police carried out an operation in the capital, Mogadishu, on Friday that led to the seizure of weapons allegedly buried by al-Shabab militants.”  


The brief statement did not give further details of the seized weapons but did say that “during the operation, security forces arrested a suspected al-Shabab member from the raided house in the Dharkenley district and that an investigation is underway.”  


An official with NISA, however, told VOA on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak about the operation, that the seized content included improvised firearms, bombs, rounds of ammunition, and other explosives.  


The security forces raid Friday night on a house in Mogadishu is part of an ongoing government campaign to defeat al-Shabab and prevent terrorist attacks they carry out across the country.  


On Friday, the deputy mayor of Mogadishu for security and politics, Mohamed Ahmed Diriye Yabooh, said the city will see relentless operations by security forces, including a house-to-house search for al-Shabab members hiding among civilians.


“The people of Mogadishu should know that the security forces will begin operations in which they would search every house in the city so that the Khawariij, [renegades] who are attempting to live among us will no longer be able to do so,” said Mohamed Ahmed Diriye.


The deputy mayor’s statement comes just days after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud appealed to Somali citizens to help his government flush out members of the al-Shabab extremist group he described as “bedbugs.”  


For the past several months, security experts and community leaders in Mogadishu have been calling on government security agencies to step up their operations in the capital to avert what they called “pending al-Shabab terror attacks.”   


The Somali president declared a “total war” against the al-Qaida-linked militants shortly after being elected last year.  


Working with local clan fighters, the government has claimed multiple military victories against al-Shabab in the past six months, retaking towns and villages in Hirshabelle state that had been controlled for years by the militants.


In those military operations supported by its international partners, the government claimed about 2,000 al-Shabab fighters were killed.  


VOA could not independently verify the government’s claimed death toll.  


Meanwhile, al-Shabab has continued its attacks since Mohamud was elected president. It carried out two attacks a week ago on government forces in Somalia’s central region of Hiran over two days, killing more than 43 people, including senior military officers.  


A twin car bombing in Mogadishu last October killed at least 120 people. 

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