Al-Shabaab finance chief killed in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A senior Al-Shabaab finance officer has been killed in Somalia, officials confirmed, in one of the most dramatic and sophisticated operations which comes days after the second phase of military campaigns against the militants was activated by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Hassan Sheikh, who concluded his trip to Qatar and Saudi Arabia recently, outlined his objectives and plan to eliminate the militants who have been wreaking havoc in the Horn of Africa nation which has struggled with instability for the last three decades.
Mahad Aqadub, who has been the head of Zakawat within Galgaduud in the Galmadug region, officials said, was killed during an operation conducted on Saturday, in what the military defined as "potentially great success". Zakawat officials are in charge of the collection of taxes.
The operation against Al-Shabaab was carried out in Towfiq town which is about 15 kilometers from the recently liberated Gal'ad District. Security forces arrested the lead militant following a tip-off from hawk-eyed villagers who have been his victim for several years.
According to state media sources, during the operation, al-Shabab militants attacked the advancing army, which led Agadub to attempt to escape. However, after running approximately 3 kilometers, he suffered a heart attack and died of a bullet that hit him.
Four other senior Al-Shabaab members are currently held by security forces and are awaiting military trial in Mogadishu, state media noted. The four are said to have been conducting attacks in central and southern parts of Somalia, killing thousands of innocent civilians and members of security forces.
The killing of Mahad Agadub marks a significant milestone in the government's ongoing efforts to combat al-Shabab and restore regional security. His death also comes a week after the national army killed at least 44 Al-Shabaab militants within the controversial Lower Shabelle region which has been unstable for a while.
Somalia has activated campaigns to spot and destroy Al-Shabaab tax collection centers, a move aimed at grounding the group financially to frustrate her operations in the country. The United States Army estimates that the group makes up to $120 million annually through extortion.