Top Al Shabab leader killed in joint operation: Somali govt

The drone strike on October 1, launched by the country's army and international security partners, killed Abdullahi Yare near the coastal town of Haramka



File photo
File photo

By AFP

Published: Mon 3 Oct 2022, 3:06 PM

On Monday, the Somali government announced that a top Al Shabab militant — who had a $3 million US bounty on his head — had been killed in a joint air strike in southern Somalia.

The drone strike on October 1, launched by the Somali army and international security partners, killed Abdullahi Yare near the coastal town of Haramka, the ministry of information said in a statement dated Sunday, but posted online on Monday.

"This leader ... was the head preacher of the group and one of the most notorious members of the Shabab group," it said.

He was the group's director for finances, the ministry said, referring to a powerful consultation body within Al Shabab.

A co-founder of the Al Qaeda-linked group, Yare, was believed to be next in line to take over the leadership of the movement from its ailing chief Ahmed Diriye, according to the ministry.

"His elimination is like a thorn removed from Somalia as a nation," the ministry said.

Yare was one of seven leaders named by the United States on its most-wanted list in 2012. Washington offered three million dollars for his capture as well.

Last month, Somalia's recently elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud urged citizens to stay away from areas controlled by Al Shabab, as he vowed to ratchet up offensives against the militants.

US forces have, in the past, partnered with African Union soldiers and Somali troops in counter-terrorism operations, and have conducted frequent raids and drone strikes on Al Shabab training camps throughout Somalia.

The group remains a potent force, despite an African Union operation against it. Its fighters were ousted from the capital in 2011 but continue to stage attacks on military, government and civilian targets.

Last week, the group claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed a top Somali police officer near the Al Shabab-controlled village of Bursa, about 30km north of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

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