Somalia: Mudug Governor killed in Al-Shabaab suicide bomb attack
GALKAYO, Puntland - At least four people among them a regional governor were on Sunday killed in the northern town of Galkayo in Puntland state, police said, in yet another raid which could precipitate to a re-evaluation of security within Somalia.
Ahmed Muse Nur, who had been serving as the Mudug governor since May 2019, was confirmed dead along with his brother and a bodyguard in an attack which Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants have immediately claimed responsibility.
The militants used a NOAH car which was laden with explosives to target a vehicle attached to the governor. A rickshaw at a nearby area was destroyed, an eyewitness told Garowe Online.
Residents were forced to scamper for safety after the huge explosion, with some rushing to the site for rescue mission efforts, witnesses said, but nothing could be rescued due to the magnitude of the explosion.
Security forces have since taken over the site of the explosion, with some also launching man-hunt for those who planned and executed the heinous act, which becomes the latest insecurity incident within the rather stable state within war-torn Somalia.
"A speeding NOAH car filled with explosives struck the governor's vehicle driving out of his office," said a security official.
Through their proxy media outlets, Al-Shabaab militants, who are the only African terror group to pledge allegiance to Al-Qaida, took responsibility for the attack, even though it did not delve into finer details about the raid.
This is the second attack targeting a high ranking official within Puntland, and it comes amid ongoing operations to flush out both Al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia from the region, which has traditionally enjoyed stability.
In March this year, Abdisalan Hassan Hersi, governor of the Nugaal region, succumbed to his wounds after being rushed to hospital in Garowe, the capital of Puntland where a similar attack was launched by the militants near a police station.
Details about the Mudug's governor's itinerary before the blast remain scanty, but it's understood the blast took place within the town. Last month, an immigration officer was also assassinated by Al-Shabaab outside a mosque in Galkayo.
The militants' threat forced President Said Abdullahi Deni to instigate radical reforms on local security forces, who have in recent weeks launched several assaults against both Al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia, whose presence within the region remains rather insignificant.
For instance, last week, Puntland regional forces waged deadly assaults against the militants within the seaside city of Bosaso, in an operation that aimed at securing most suburbs which are believed to be under the control of the militants.
Al-Shabaab militants had tried to run over the Balikhadar base which is located between Galgala and Bosaso on Thursday night, leading to an intensive gunfight between the two factions, Puntland forces said in a statement.
The clashes left three Al-Shabaab militants dead and one soldier, and it was the first major attack to be launched by the Al-Shabaab, which is trying to maneuver its way to the rather peaceful state in Somalia.
Before that, several explosives believed to have been hidden by IS-Somalia militants were recovered in Bosaso, following the crackdown by security forces. A number of suspects have been arrested for questioning.
Traditionally, terrorists have often carried out attacks against high ranking officials when they feel pressure from security forces especially from the Puntland forces, a strategy aimed at reducing continued onslaught against them.
During the burial of Hersi, President Deni insisted that the region cannot be cowed to submission by the terrorists, arguing that security forces will continue working "extremely hard" to ensure they are completely wiped out from the state.