Fresh details emerge from deadly gunfight in Somalia prison
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The number of inmates killed during Monday's deadly attack at the Mogadishu Central Prison has risen to 15, the government of Somalia confirmed, Tuesday, almost 24 hours after announcing the death of four inmates who were reportedly involved in a fierce shootout with authorities.
According to authorities, the shooting was occasioned by an inmate who grabbed a gun from a guard before starting to fire indiscriminately, killing at least three guards on spot. However, a report by Voice of America Somali service debunked the government statement, arguing that the inmates had smuggled pistols into the prison.
Ismael Mukhtaar, the official government spokesperson, gave details of the 15 dead inmates in a statement issued on his social media accounts, adding that several more people were critically injured during the shootings. It was the first incident of such a magnitude at the facility, he added.
Also, he added, the number of the soldiers killed rose to four, after one more succumbed to his injuries. Another prison guards us being treated at a Mogadishu hospital after sustaining serious injuries, Mukhtaar said in the statement.
Of the 15 prisoners who were killed, nine were serving life sentences, three were on a 15-year sentence each, with two others serving eight and six years in prison respectively. One of the inmates who was killed wasn't an Al-Shabaab convict and had been detained due to a family-related matter, the official added.
Interestingly, one inmate managed to escape from the heavily fortified facility, leading to the activation of the search for the individual. He has been identified as Mubarak Ibrahim Idle, an Al-Shabaab convict who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison since 2014 and was nearing the completion of his sentence.
Details obtained from the correctional facility also indicate that among those killed in the gun battle were Ibrahim Mohamed Mohamud alias Gama'did and Mohamed Daud, who is a former Al-Shabaab member cum ISIS. The two were serving 15 years sentence in the facility.
Col. Hassan Ali Nur Shute, the renowned military court chief, had a few weeks ago raised an alarm over the state of prisons, where he argued that some of the convicts had access to phones and that some could easily access social media despite tough regulations.
"We have a scenario where some inmates can still access social media because they have smartphones. This is an area where prison authorities should be cautious because we now need serious rehabilitation so that they are properly corrected without giving them access to such privileges," he had said.
It's not clear if the military court chief had intelligence briefing about the dangerous state of prisons. However, he had been issuing strong orders against convicts, some of them who are hardcore criminals serving death row in various correctional facilities in Somalia.
On Tuesday, Wadajir party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame accused the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] officials of working with Al-Shabaab. However, he could not give tangible evidence to support his claims, but he's on record for complaining about instances where prisoners access phones.
The Federal Government of Somalia has since appointed a six-member committee that would investigate the incident and give recommendations for actions. The attack comes few hours after the Al-Shabaab militants raised April 12 military base within Mogadishu in an incident that left 8 SNA troops dead.