Twin Car Bombs Kill Dozens in Somalia

    Twin Car Bombs Kill Dozens in Somalia
    Last updated Jan 04, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via DW]


    • Somali police reported that two car bombs targeted the homes of a district commissioner and a federal lawmaker on Wednesday, reportedly killing at least 35 people. The al-Shabab militant group has claimed responsibility.[1]
    • The attack was conducted after the dawn prayer in the Mahaas district of the Hiran region, which has been the focal point of an ongoing government offensive against the al-Qaida-linked group that has controlled parts of central and southern Somalia for years.[2]
    • The twin explosions are reportedly the worst attack carried out by al-Shabab militants who have been under siege since Mogadishu has vowed to defeat them this year. Eyewitnesses said several buildings were damaged.[3]
    • Police leadership said that most of those killed were civilians, while al-Shabab's media office claimed the group had targeted "apostate militias and soldiers," putting the number of dead at 87.[4]
    • Al-Shabaab began an insurgency against the Somali government in 2007 and has managed to remain rooted in the rural central and southern parts of the country, despite being driven from major urban areas.[1]
    • A key supply route to Mahaas, which had been under an ongoing siege, was recently opened by the Somali army alongside local militias. This was part of the most recent offensive.[2]


    Establishment-critical narrative

    The recent string of devastating al-Shabaab attacks proves that the new Somali government's military approach to defeat the group with the help of Western allies, African Union troops, and local militias don't promise success. Moreover, the weak federal government lacks public legitimacy. What is needed now are direct talks between Mogadishu and al-Shabaab, and political power sharing to consolidate the government's authority.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The latest terrorist attacks are a setback for the Mohamud government and its allied clan militias. But that doesn't diminish the fact that the offensive against the Islamists has recently produced a number of successes, with al-Shabab being driven out of key regions of Somalia with US military support. Even if victory isn't yet within reach, and further military and political efforts are necessary, the government is on the right track.

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