16 November 2017

Somalia: Govt Releases List of Deadly Car Bomb Suspects

Photo: Radio Shabelle
Turkey airlifts wounded victims to Istanbul

The Somali government has released the names and the photos of the suspects behind last month's deadly truck bombing that killed more than 350 people and injured more than 400 others in Mogadishu.

Security Minister Mohamed Abukar Islow named seven suspects, including Husein Aden Madey, identified as the suicide bomber who drove the truck that blew up in the middle of busy intersection on October 14, and Mukhtar Mohamud Hassan aka (Gardhuub), who is accused of masterminding the attack.

Other suspects include, Ali Yussuf Wa'eys, the would-be bomber of another car bomb foiled by Somali security forces the same day of the huge explosion, his aide Hassan Adan Isack; and Abdiweli Ahmed Dirie, reputedly al-Shabaab's chief explosive expert in Mogadishu; and Abdullahi Abdi Warsame.

The minister said five of the six living suspects are in government custody and the owner of the truck used for the bombing is still being sought by police. He identified the owner as Abdullahi Ibrahim Hassan.

He said the suspects were arrested following investigations and tips from local residents.

The deadliest blast in Somalia's history, has widely been blamed on al-Shabab, but the militant group has not claimed responsibility.

On Tuesday, a month after the attack, CCTV footage released by Somali security agencies showed an explosives-packed truck running into other vehicles at Zobe intersection.

Retaliation

Somali officials say U.S. and Somali government forces conducted several military strikes during the past weeks to retaliate for the truck bomb attack.

Abdifitah Haji Abdulle, the deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region, said the latest drone strike killed six militants early Wednesday in the village of Idow Jalad.

Somalia's Security Ministry Spokesman Abdulaziz Ibrahim Hildhiban reported another drone attack on Monday in the town of Awhiigle.

"It is part of an ongoing efforts to target the militant hideouts and bases, from where they organize attacks against our people," said Ibrahim, "The government and its partners are still assessing the results."

U.S. Africa Command also said Tuesday it is assessing the results of the strike, the sixth in Somalia since Thursday and 27th in the country this year.

Attacks on IS

The United States has also carried out its first drone strikes against Islamic State fighters in Somalia. The U.S. Defense Department said "40 terrorists" were killed in five airstrikes. But Somali government officials put the militant death toll in one location alone at 81

A local official told VOA three civilians were among at least 13 people killed Saturday when drone-fired missiles targeted militants in Basra village, about 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu.

But a Security Ministry spokesman denied the reported civilians' death, dismissing it as al-Shabab propaganda.

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Somali Govt Identifies Masterminds of Oct 14 Truck Bombing

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