Somali intelligence agency arrests two Islamic State members in Mogadishu
Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) reportedly arrested two members of the fledgling Islamic State wing in Mogadishu yesterday. NISA officials reportedly added that “one of the two men has shot and killed a police traffic officer in broad-day-light in Somali capital and other killings.”
The NISA operation came as the Islamic State claimed another assassination inside the country. Yesterday, the jihadist group claimed its forces gunned down a NISA official in the Elasha suburb of Mogadishu. However, this incident has not been reported in local media. The claim would be the Islamic State’s 48th attack inside Somalia.
According to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal, yesterday’s alleged assassination was the 11th claimed assassination in Mogadishu and its surrounding area and the 23rd claimed assassination overall. Most of these targeted killings are directed at NISA officers, however, Somali military and police personnel are also routinely targeted by Islamic State gunmen.
Last month, Somali security services arrested a member of the Islamic State inside the country for the first time. That suspect, identified as Jama Hassan Hussein, was a former member of Shabaab – al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa – before he defected to the Islamic State. Defectors who survived Shabaab purges appear to constitute a large portion of the Islamic State’s numbers inside Somalia.
The main Islamic State faction inside Somalia operates in the mountains of the northern Puntland region, however, smaller, disconnected, and likely autonomous cells from the larger faction, operate in central and southern Somalia. The Islamic State has had a difficult time establishing a strong foothold inside the country. Shabaab’s Amniyat (internal security service) has been tasked with hunting down and killing any members who seek to or have defected to the Islamic State, as well as potential Islamic State recruits.