Al-Shabaab commander behind KDF base raid in Somalia surrenders
NAIROBI, Kenya - A top Al-Shabaab commander who engineered an ambush at a Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] base in Somalia has surrendered, over four years after the deadly attack which is probably one of the single worst casualty against the Kenyan troops ever since crossing to the Horn of Africa nation.
Khalif Abdinoor Mohamed, the commander who led hundreds of Al-Shabaab militants during the raid at El-Adde army camp surrendered on Tuesday at Mandera Police station, not far from the site of the attack. El-Adde is located in the volatile Gedo region within Jubaland.
The attack which happened on the night of January 15, 2016, left close to 200 soldiers dead with just a few survivors. The KDF team, which promised to table a report on what transpired, is yet to reveal details of what transpired during the deadly night at the base, in an attack that also left many soldiers at the hands of their attackers.
Reports published by KDF, which were recently made available in our of their literature, indicated that the soldiers were attacked at night and the communication for reinforcement would be made several hours later by some survivors who managed to escape from the scene. The number of casualties was not made public.
According to police reports in Mandera, Abdinoor Mohamed surrendered an AK 47 rifle with three magazines and 92 rounds of ammunition. Reports indicate that he had been on KDF radar after authorities in Somalia linked him to the deadly attack, which remains the worst in the history of African Union Mission troops in Somalia.
The suspect reportedly escaped from an Al-Shabaab camp in Gedo on Sunday, August 30 before linking with the Officer Commanding Station [OCS] in Mandera. The police, however, are keeping an eye on him and are investigating his motive to surrender before transporting him to Nairobi County for further grilling.
Police added that the suspect was born in Bura, a village located at the Kenya Somali border. He is suspected to have participated in countless attacks against police and KDF. The El-Adde battle saw Kenya heighten its war against terrorism. KDF retaliated through several attacks in Somalia and captured a number of enemy bases.
In Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a comprehensive strategy to deal with terror groups such as Al-Shabaab and radical extremism. The President empowered the police through allowances and provided sophisticated weapons to the KDF and law enforcers on Friday, January 17.
He also instructed the National Intelligence Service [NIS] to investigate terror financiers funding Somali-based Al-Shabaab. Following a successful investigation, Interior minister Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday ordered the freezing of accounts and property of nine individuals suspected to be the major financers.
The El-Adde army base raid was also followed by another attack at Kulbiyow which left at least 70 soldiers dead a year later. But since then, KDF has managed to repulse dozens of Al-Shabaab attacks within Somalia besides liberating several key towns in the war-torn nation.
KDF first raided Somalia under the operation Linda Nchi in 2012 but would join AMISOM a year later. Next year, the troops are expected to withdraw under the Somali Transition Plan [STP], a program that would see over 22,000 troops leave the Horn of Africa nation.
Abdinoor's decision to surrender also comes at the time Al-Shabaab is losing territories in Somalia and reported internal intrigues. Group leader Ahmed Omar Diriye is said to have handed over to one of his deputies due to ill-health and supposed wrangles with Amniyat commander Mahad Karate.