Somalia: Al-Shabaab leader captured in Mogadishu


MOGADISHU, Somalia - A senior Al-Shabaab leader has been captured in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, the country's spy agency announced, on what has been termed as a major milestone in the fight against the militants, who control large swathes of rural central and southern regions.

The National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) said Muhiyadin Daqare, senior Al-Shabaab leader, was captured on an undisclosed date, after a long search. The government is coordinating a major crackdown against the militants in the country.

According to NISA, Daqare operated in Mudug, Galgudud, and Lower Shabelle regions for the militant group, and was most recently close to the group’s emir Ahmed Diriye alias Abu Ubaidah, who has been hiding since taking over leadership from Ahmed Godane.

NISA said Daqare was a “wanted” man and was captured while hiding in Mogadishu. It is not clear how the teams mounted the search and later captured him, in one of the most significant successes in the fight against Al-Shabaab militants.

His capture, officials believe, will assist the government in conducting the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab, which is set to kick off in Jubaland and Southwest states. Daqare is said to have sophisticated Al-Shabaab networks across the country.

The government is committed to fighting the militants, who control large swathes of rural Somalia, but whose grip has dwindled in recent weeks. The first phase of operations against the militants left over 3,000 Al-Shabaab fighters dead, the government said.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has reiterated his commitment to the fight against Al-Shabaab, activating the closure of the group's propaganda machinery, including social media sites and websites. Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia.


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