Somali intelligence official survives bomb attack
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A senior spy with the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] was attacked by unknown people in Guri'el town, reports indicate, in the latest wave of violence targeting security officers in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been struggling with Al-Shabaab menace and tribal militia for many decades.
Abdullahi Abdi Rage, who previously worked with moderate Sufi group Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a [ASWJ] had a grenade hurled at his house on Friday night in Galgadud region in central Somalia but he did not sustain any serious injuries according to officials.
Galgadud region is found in Galmadug and is prone to frequent Al-Shabaab attacks. The attackers, reports indicate, hurled the grenade but did not open fire, a common strategy used by the Al-Qaida linked group, the Al-Shabaab, which controls large swathes of rural southern and central Somalia.
Reports indicate that the grenade managed to hit the house but no injuries were reported. The office is responsible for the collection of intelligence from the region and could have been targeted by local militia or the Al-Shabaab militants, who are common in the region.
Sometimes back, records indicate, the NISA official thwarted a planned attack in his village by physically wrestling the attacker to the ground. It's not clear whether the attackers were on the revenge mission against the spy agency, who has been part of the NISA team for years now.
NISA has several officials who collect intelligence across the country before sharing details with security forces. With their station in Mogadishu, the agency has, however, lately battled with claims of helping the government wrestle opposition politicians in Somalia.
Fahad Yasin, a former Al-Jazeera journalist, is the director of NISA. In recent months, he has been facing criticism from the opposition who accuse him of misusing the security sector by setting the police and the Somali National Army [SNA] against those believed to be critics of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
It's not also clear whether the ASWJ militia has been against NISA agents but the team had her fighters surrounding in early 2020. The team had lost a fight to SNA troops following the controversial elections in Galmadug, which saw Ahmed Abdi Kariye declared the winner of local presidential polls.
The spy team has previously tracked and arrested suspected Al-Shabaab militants, some of who have been tried at military courts in Somalia. But there have been claims that the team works with Al-Shabaab military, a claim which the Federal Government of Somalia termed as "fake and unsubstantiated".
A report from the Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] had implicated the NISA agents in Somalia of sharing intelligence with the militants. The NISA agents are mainly trained in Kenya by KDF and are important in the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab militants, who have caused havoc and agony in Somalia.