Somalia army foils 'major terror attack' on Mogadishu
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia’s military says special forces foiled a “major terrorist attack” aimed at Mogadishu during an offensive against the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabab, Garowe Online reports.
The country's Ministry of Information said Tuesday the Somali National Army [SNA] forces have seized a tanker truck loaded with explosives in Sabiid village of Lower Shabelle region on Monday, April 1, 2019.
It added the extremist group was plotting to carry out a wide-scale terrorist attack in Somalia, but, the government forces 'thwarted' and arrested a number of militants following the liberation of the area.
Sabiid lies about 40 kilometres [25 miles] southwest of the capital, Mogadishu. The foiled attack was described as "the largest bombs" ever made by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab group in history.
Al-Shabaab is blamed for Somalia's deadliest attack, a massive truck bomb in Mogadishu on 14th October 2017 that killed over 500 people and injured hundreds.
The group frequently stages attacks in the capital in an attempt to topple the government and expel 22,000 African Union [AU] soldiers protecting it.
Meanwhile, the ministry announced that SNA forces seized control of Baladul Amiin, after flushing out the militants from Omar Berre, Sabid and Anole villages, all located in Lower Shabelle region.
The latest raid comes amid an increase of Al-Shabaab car bombings and assassinations in the capital.
The AU envoy for Somalia and AMISOM head, Francisco Madeira welcomed the capture of Sabiid, saying the control of such strategic areas will deny the enemy freedom to continue to terrorize Somali people.
This is the first military gains against Al-Shabaab made by the UN-backed weak Somali government based in Mogadishu since president Farmajo came to power in February 2017.
The United States has targeted the extremist group with dozens of airstrikes and increased its military presence in Somalia since early 2017 to about 500 personnel.