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Notorious Al-Shabaab commander killed in Somalia

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - A notorious Al-Shabaab operative was on Thursday killed by his colleagues, in a dramatic incident which was confirmed by a senior government official, ending his almost eight years of active participation in organized crimes and terrorism in Somalia.

Abdifatah Baari was reportedly killed by Al-Shabaab militants after months of detention, Abdirahman Ahmed, the Director of ICT confirmed in a tweet, ending speculations about the whereabouts of the militant, who is being sought for by security forces in the war-torn nation.

Baari has been in detention but it's not clear why his associates threw him to cells. However, Al-Shabaab militants are often notorious for arresting and detaining those who violate in-house rules, and the militant could be a victim of his own misdeeds and violations.

"Baari was executed by the Al-Shabaab after months in detention. This ends his active days as a militia and warlord who antagonized people in Somalia and across the borders," said the official without giving many details over the incident, which reflects deep divisions within Al-Shabaab.

Before he joined the Al-Qaida linked group, Baari was an ex-militia who ran checkpoints across Somalia from where he extorted his subjects and at times, killing them without mercy. At the checkpoints, he made a fortune before he joined the Al-Shabaab militants, who have been causing havoc in Somalia.

Throughout his stay within the Al-Shabaab, Baari was ranked as one of the most notorious militants who killed dozens of people including soldiers and civilians in the country. He's been on the most-wanted list of the Al-Shabaab militants who killed people with impunity.

His execution comes amid reports of divisions within the Al-Shabaab group. For instance, the group leader Ahmed Omar Diriye is said to have fallen out with Mahad Karate, the group's financial controller, and the crisis is said to have grounded criminal activities undertaken by the Al-Shabaab.

Karate's clan is said to have protested his ouster from the influential department, but it's not clear how the matter was fixed or determined. Ahmed is said to have accused him of misappropriation of resources, and subsequently, expelled him from the group hence leading to the current standoff.

Also expelled was Bashir Qorgab, another notorious Al-Shabaab operative who would be killed days later in a US-conducted airstrike in the vicinity of Saakow town in February. Bashir was linked to the January 5 attack at US Naval Base in Kenya which left three Americans dead.

Besides the two, Al-Shabaab is also said to have killed Muse Moalim, the head of Amniyat in the Somali capital Mogadishu, after irreconcilable differences. Ahmed Diriye has since taken over the position of head of intelligence in Mogadishu, where the group controlled until 2011.

Al-Shabaab still controls large swathes of rural southern and central Somalia, where they have imposed a parallel administration that collects taxes from people popularly known as Amniyat. The group is able to carry small to large scale sporadic attacks but has never managed ground combat.

The Somali National Army and allied forces have been carrying operations across the country with an aim of restoring order. Since January the troops have organized joint operations which have led to the liberation of several towns which were once Al-Shabaab strongholds.