Senior Al-Shabaab leader dies of wounds in Somalia
JILIB, Somalia - An Al-Shabaab cleric believed to have suffered critical wounds last month around the border of Lower and Middle Shabelle has finally died, reports from Jilib town indicate, in what could be significant progress in the fight against the militants.
The federal government of Somalia claims Mohamed Hassan Omar, alias Abu Abdirahman was killed in the Jubba region where he has taken refuge following the serious injuries he sustained last month. Omar was a notorious extremist who radicalized many youths.
The Al-Shabaab militants, who are fighting to control Somalia, have since confirmed the death of their former Banadir leader in a statement but said that Omar had succumbed to an unspecified illness. He has been unwell for some time, the statement noted.
"The Sheikh has been suffering from illness for the last few days, and he passed away last Thursday in Jilib district in the Islamic province of Juba," the Al-Shabaab proxy media outlets reported the death, which is a big blow to them given the strategic roles he was playing.
So far, Abu Abdirahman is the second senior al-Shabab official to be assassinated in the last two months. Hundreds of villages have been liberated by government forces and local clan militia forces during the recent offensive, with over a thousand militants killed in the last six months.
Last month, the government announced the death of Abdullahi Nadir, who was a co-founder of the group following a US Africa Command-coordinated airstrike. Nadir was at one point believed to be next in line of succession due to illness facing the current leader Abu Ubaidah.
The Al-Shabaab militants have lost significant ground in the last three months with the government saying over 600 militants have been killed. In return, the militants have been waging retaliatory attacks mainly targeting innocent civilians across the country.