The governor and three assisted in killing in Al-Shabaab, targeting KDF troops
KISMAYO, Somalia – The governor of the fragile Ras Kamboni district, also known as district commissioner, died on Wednesday morning, several sources confirmed, in an attack targeting KDF troops in Somalia.
Abdullahi Diriye died on the scene when his vehicle was driving on a gas mine planted by Al-Shabaab militants, who were fighting to recapture the city liberated by the KDF and the Ras Kamboni Brigade in 2011.
His two bodyguards and a driver also sustained injuries following the improvised explosive device [IED] explosion, about 8 kilometers from Raskamboni town in Lower Jubba, authorities said.
It is not clear where the official went to, but his convoy was assigned to the Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] protection, where several soldiers were also injured during the attack.
Officers from the city of Dhobley in Jubba also confirmed the deaths of VOA and added that investigations are still ongoing to determine the motive for the attack, police say.
Ras Kamboni falls under the southern sector of AMISOM, which is under the surveillance of the KDF troops, which staff Sectors II and III of Jubaland, which is a special buffer zone for Kenya in the Al-Shabaab war.
But on their friendly media pages, Al-Shabaab said the attack “targeted professional KDF” forces, insisting that “we will fight them gallantly until they leave Muslim country”.
The Somalia-based militants also claimed that their KDF troops following the governor died in the explosion, although Somalia officials did not immediately confirm or deny the reports.
KDF has played a critical role in establishing a functional government in Jubaland, run by Ahmed Madobe, the former Ras Kamboni Brigade commander.
Madobe, who has been at the forefront of the federal government in Somalia, played an integral role in the capture of Dhobley, Afmadow and Kismayo cities, which were once Al-Shabaab terror hotbeds for many years.
Last week, KDF helped establish the first army base for Somali’s national army [SNA], a significant step toward the expected end of Somalia in 2021, a decade after joining the Linda Nchi operation.
Despite liberating many cities, KDF has also suffered numerous setbacks, including over 300 soldiers in the El-Adde and Kulbiyow army bases in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Most often, the militants have also targeted officials, whether leaning against the federal government or regional states, as they struggle to overthrow the fragile UN-backed administration in Mogadishu.
But militants have significantly lost their territories in central and southern Somalia, due to frequent US attacks, which hit a record 31 air strikes within three months during the capture of Janaale city in Lower Shebelle last week.
There are approximately 7,000 active Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia, but the militants have been drastically weakened by the Allied military, which is keen to establish a functional government in Somalia.
Ras Kamboni is almost neighboring Kenya in the south of Lamu, not far from the US naval base, which was attacked by militants at the beginning of the year, leaving three Americans dead.
Nearly a week ago, KDF troops also killed 12 militants in Lamu, in the dangerous Boni Forest, and captured a live for interrogation, Nairobi officials confirmed.