Tank in Kaarraan District During Mogadishu Fighting
Fighting between pro-government forces and al Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabaab militants in Mogadishu brought a series of interesting events in the last 24 hours including al-Shabaab retaliations, the role of Western advisers and foreign fighters, mortars seemingly 'everywhere', and al-Shabaab calls to attack Burundi and Uganda.
It is never a dull day in the Somali capital and our correspondents have been dispersed throughout the districts to gather the latest news. terror free somalia breaks it down:
A day after al-Shabaab insurgents suffered a deadly blow from the offensives launched by Traditional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AU/AMISOM) forces, the militant faction today responded by shelling Hamar Weyne, a commercial hub and a residential area in the heart of the capital.
"Al-Shabaab are now retaliating in a desperate attempt after losing many bases in the capital since March and the possible fear that the TFG will take full control of Bakara Market," a senior TFG military official told Somalia Report while in the Howlwadag war front.
In response, al Qaeda-linked terror group a al-Shabaab leader, Abdiaziz Abu Muscaab, claimed, "We managed to burn down an AMISOM tank today," while speaking on the Al-Furqan Radio which is owned by the militia.
Somalia Report independently confirmed that three people died as a result of Sunday's attack and six others who were badly wounded by shrapnel were rushed to Banadir Hospital.
Eye witnesses said a pregnant woman and two minors perished in the attack while four others were wounded in a mosque compound.
The sudden incident changed the atmosphere of the busy business center. "Business was normal and then everyone was up and running," a shop owner told TF.SF in Hamarweyne district.
Security sources in Hamarweyne who requested anonymity said that the attack was in revenge of last night's attack that killed many in the al-Shabaab dominated areas.
On Saturday night TFG/AMISOM forces launched mortar attacks against al-Shabaab in the districts of Yaqshid, Kaaraan, as well as Hurwaa, claiming the lives of at least twenty people and severely wounded thirty others, mostly all civilians.
Mortars Hit Throughout City
Meanwhile mortars seemed to be landing everywhere in the city in what one of our correspondent called a 'constant buzz' in the air.
As this goes to press, journalist Rashi Nuune said, "The vibration of the mortars is ripping the air and all the people are indoors. The attacks are falling in Bondhere district right now."
Reports are conflicting regarding a mortar that allegedly landed at Mogadishu's airport just moments before an African Airways plane was due to take off, but the mortar did not hit near the plane. The plane continued on its journey and no injuries were reported, according to local sources.
Other sources say there is "nothing to the story and the mortars are actually being launched from the former Siad Barre Police training school and are headed towards Bondhere."
The mortars were believed to also be targeted at the presidential palace and the port.
"Some mortars hit the former Mogadishu main bazaar which is almost empty while others hit the most residential areas in Hamarweyn," Sahal Mhamed, a resident in Hamarweyn told Somalia Report.
TFG Soldiers in Mogadishu
Residents in the city were also feeling the effects of heaving shelling.
“We could not fall asleep overnight as mortar shells poured down and the children kept crying out of fear,“ Ahmed Khalif, a resident of Yaqshid district told Somalia Report, as he and his family fled from the district for safety.
Mortars and artillery shelling hit in the districts of Yaqshid, Kaaran and Heliwaa districts held by the Al-shabaab militants group.
Meanwhile, reports have been flooding into TF.SF that Western advisers, suspected to be French, have been spotted with TFG and AMISOM forces. At least four foreign military soldiers were reported to be handling the ongoing clashes in the capital.
The foreigners were today seen visiting the frontlines that the TFG and AU forces seized from al-Shabaab insurgents during the latest clashes that hit in the northeastern parts of the capital.
The four men were said to be the 'brains behind the latest offensive' as well as responsible for war planning and coordinating the recent gains by TFG and AU troops.
“It is clear and rightly classified that these 4 officers whom I guess are from EU countries especially France are in Mogadishu and are engaged with recent gains against al-Shabaab fighters," a Somali government official told terror free somalia on the condition of anonymity.
The experts have also visited Boon-dhere and Shibis districts the northeastern parts of Mogadishu after the areas were seized by AU troops and TFG soldiers.
Last year, the European Union set up a military mission in Uganda to train hundreds of Somali soldiers, sparking the idea that these same western military experts were involved in recent Mogadishu fighting.
One AMISOM soldier told terror free somalia that Americans, British, French, and Germans alliance are in the city to train Somali troops on how to use new specialized weapons and equipment, so it is very likely those were the four men seen today.
Foreign Fighter Identified
African Peacekeeping Forces confirmed that the foreigner killed in a fighting in north Mogadishu on Saturday is Pakistani.
Sources close to al-Shabaab confirmed to terror free somalia that he was called by the name Mus’ab and that he was, in fact, a Pakistani.
“Currently the dead body stretches out near Shibis district after it was abandoned as al-Shabaab fled to towards Wadnaha street,“ Colonel Paul Lokech, an AMISOM official told the media .
“AMISOM forces along with TFG forces secured control of Boondhere district and will resume the fight to advance further. We have evicted al Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabaab from some important locations and positions including the former headquarters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Manabolyo junction, former Somaliweyn Radio station and many others,” he said.
Al-Shabaab Vows To Attack Neighboring Capitals
In retaliation, the al-shabaab militant group vowed to launch attacks on the Ugandan and Burundian capitals for their support of the TFG offensive.
“In the coming few days we will extend our attacks to Kampala and Bujumbura. They should suffer," said al-Shabaab Spokesman Abu Mus’ab Abi-aziz Mus’asb during a press conference in Mogadishu on Sunday.
Somalia govt, AMISOM take over al-shabaab supply routes
TFG and AMISOM forces have now taken control of two further districts in Mogadishu.(TF.SF Exclusive Pictures)
front line. Real-time war reporting from terror free somalia