ISIS claims assassination of traffic cop in Mogadishu
The shocking Tuesday afternoon killing of a traffic officer caught on video in Somalia’s capital have catapulted fears that ISIS remains a potent threat in Mogadishu.
Police say the traffic warden was killed near the Bakara market, bringing the total people to be assassinated in a similar manner to three in as many days. This attack was filmed by ISIS militants who claimed responsibility for the attack through a video confirmation on Amaq News – an ISIS-linked news outlet that is often the first point of publication for claims of responsibility-.
The gruesome video shows the ISIS assassin dressed in a powder blue button-down and ‘Somalia blue’ track pants approach the traffic warden from behind before shooting him dead in broad daylight.
The gunman and his accomplice who was filming the attack were able to escape.
Last week, ISIS militants claimed responsibility for the murder of an intelligence officer in Bakara Market. Witnesses and local media are reporting that a man wearing a white those shot and killed the intelligence officer as his accomplice stood by and filmed the attack.
In late April, another Somali intelligence officer was killed in a similar fashion. The group also claimed an attack on a Somali soldier in Afgoye, a leafy village town 25 km west of Mogadishu. That same month a suspected ISIS militant was arrested in Mogadishu in possession of bomb-making materials.
Residents are alarmed and worried that such assassinations can be carried out in the middle of Somalia’s busiest market.
Security analysts have noted that the Islamic State has been ratcheting up its operations in Somalia with a significant increase in assassinations inside Somalia. In 2018, ISIS militants are believed to be behind at least 15 attacks inside Somalia.
The group’s modus operandi appears to be the targeted assassinations of intelligence and police officers whilst filming the murders for propaganda purposes.
ISIS got it’s foothold in Somalia in 2016 after capturing briefly capturing Qandala in Oct 2016. The group held the town for nearly two months before Puntland security forces launched a military campaign to recapture it. The group’s leader, Abdulqadir Mumin, is a former Al-Shabaab official who left the Al-Qaeda linked terror outfit to lead the Islamic State in Somalia in 2015. The group’s core fighters are largely based in the Golis and Bari mountains in northern Somalia but the spate of recent attacks have security officials on the back foot as they try to decipher the organizational relationship to Mumin’s group or the Islamic State in the Levant.