Meanwhile, another Muslim leader condemned their actions, but in most interesting terms: “‘The actions al-Shabaab is carrying out during the blessed month of Ramadan are outside the bounds of Islam,’ said Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa cleric Sheikh Abdirahman Ahmed. ‘Islamic law does not allow the killing of an innocent Muslims at all, and the month of Ramadan is further restricted. The ones who are setting up bombs and killing Muslim people who are fasting should know that they will never escape the punishment of God.'” His problem is with Al-Shabaab killing innocent Muslims. If they were killing non-Muslims, presumably Sheikh Abdirahman Ahmed would have no problem with that — he certainly doesn’t say anything about it.
“Somalia: Al-Shabaab Boasts About Ramadan Rampage,” by Majid Ahmed for Sabahi, July 26:
Mogadishu “” In a series of recent Twitter messages, al-Shabaab boasted about how its fighters carried out over 100 attacks during the first half of Ramadan, and vowed to increase the violence in coming weeks.
“Of the 108 military operations carried out by HSM [al-Shabaab], 57 were explosions and grenade attacks, 41 were direct confrontations and ambushes,” the militant group said July 24th.
Al-Shabaab said it also carried out nine targeted assassinations and a suicide attack against an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy in Mogadishu July 12th, in which al-Shabaab claimed to have wounded American intelligence officials.
Deemed the “Ramadan offensive”, al-Shabaab’s campaign of violence has been “concentrated in the capital, with nearly half of all HSM operations taking place in Mogadishu”.
“Lower Shabelle & Lower Jubba also saw intense action during the first half of Ramadan, with the number of strikes expected to rise sharply,” al-Shabaab said.
In two messages posted July 16th, al-Shabaab explained its reasoning for the rampage.
“Ramadan is a month of Jihad and sacrifice. It’s time for observing the most righteous deeds & offering gratitude to Allah for His blessings,” it said. “And what better way to observe Ramadan and offer gratitude to Allah than striking the necks of the invaders and destroying their might!”
In an attempt to appear united amid ongoing internal divisions, al-Shabaab said July 24th, “If anything, the sharp rise in such coordinated attacks is a clear testament to the strength of the Mujahideen & their operational capacity.”
“And with the latter part of Ramadan approaching fast, the operations are expected to take an upward trajectory soon insha-Allah,” it said.
Extent of al-Shabaab attacks in doubt
Even though al-Shabaab claims to have carried out 108 attacks during Ramadan so far, the actual number may be much smaller, as the group has only acknowledged three on Twitter.
Local media coverage of terrorist attacks during Ramadan validates far fewer than half of the attacks al-Shabaab claims, and it is unclear if all of them were indeed carried out by the group.
The following is a list of all alleged al-Shabaab attacks that Sabahi has covered since the start of Ramadan:
– Suicide car bomber targets AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu July 12th, killing three civilians and injuring three others. AMISOM said there were only “minor injuries to the soldiers in the convoy”.
– Assailants throw a grenade into the Barwaqo hotel in central Mogadishu July 12th, killing two people and wounding at least ten.
– Suspected remote-detonated roadside bomb kills soldier in Kismayo July 14th.
– Roadside bombs hit AMISOM convoy outside Kismayo July 17th, injuring three soldiers and two civilians. Two reporters who went to cover the incident were also shot by unknown gunmen.
– Landmine targets an AMISOM convoy in Kismayo July 21st, killing at least five civilians.
– Beledweyne court official Moalim Hassan Elmi is shot dead by suspected al-Shabaab militants after attending evening prayers July 20th. Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa said the attack aimed to sow discord during the holy month.
On July 23rd, three al-Shabaab militants were killed when a homemade bomb they were planting exploded in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district.
The following are all the attacks that AMISOM reported since July 10th, minus the attacks listed above:
– Landmine explosion targets Somali military vehicle in the Heliwa district of Mogadishu July 11th, injuring one soldier.
– Mortar shells damage parts of Mogadishu’s Digfer General Hospital July 16th.
– A grenade attack at a restaurant in Beledweyne July 17th kills one government soldier and injures two others.
Somalis condemn ongoing violence
Somali religious figures, community leaders and citizens have condemned al-Shabaab’s campaign of violence during Ramadan.
“The actions al-Shabaab is carrying out during the blessed month of Ramadan are outside the bounds of Islam,” said Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa cleric Sheikh Abdirahman Ahmed. “Islamic law does not allow the killing of an innocent Muslims at all, and the month of Ramadan is further restricted. The ones who are setting up bombs and killing Muslim people who are fasting should know that they will never escape the punishment of God.”…