A foreign jihadist supporting an Al Qaeda-linked group, Al-shabaab in southern Somalia has been killed in the war-torn Horn of Africa country, Somali government officials tell Garowe Online.
Officials with the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) claimed that a Yemeni-born foreign fighter named
Rabah Abu-Qalid was killed during heavy clashes Sunday in Mogadishu.
"Several militants were killed in bloody clashes, include Abu-Qalid in Mogadishu's northern districts of Shibis and Bondhere," said a TFG official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Also on Sunday, at least 22 people, mostly fighters, were killed in fresh clashes with government-backed troops in the central Somali region of Hiran, 330km northwest of Mogadishu.
Al Shabaab is a Somali insurgent group that has vowed to overthrow the TFG in Mogadishu and has led an anti-government insurgency since early 2007. The group has close links to Al Qaeda has brought foreign fighters to southern Somalia to provide training with military tactics, explosives and suicide bombings, which were alien to Somalia's anarchy before 2006.
The foreign fighters in Somalia number 300 to 1,200, according to Somali and U.S. intelligence estimates. Most are from neighboring countries such as Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, and Yemen.
Over the past two weeks, Mogadishu has seen increasing violence as Al Shabaab and TFG troops, backed by 8,000-strong African peacekeeping force (AMISOM), battle for control over Mogadishu's war-battered districts. Upwards of 60 people were killed in
clashes last week, according to local sources.
The TFG is Somalia's 15th attempt to restore national order after nearly 20 years of national anarchy and lawless that spawned terror groups, pirates, and other criminal groups. However, the TFG leadership has become ineffective due to endless internal bickering, widespread corruption, and lack of public legitimacy.