Al-Shabaab militants target Somalia’s telecom infrastructure

MOGADISHU, Somali militant group Al-Shabaab is targeting telecommunications infrastructure in areas where a concerted military effort is removing them from the villages, officials said.

Somalia’s biggest telecom firm Hormuud said its infrastructure in Galmuduug, Central Somalia, had been destroyed in an apparent futile bid to limit communication and coordination against the terror group.

Hormuud Telecom said the incident at Qaayib settlement on Monday was a result of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) which destroyed the centre and tower. The fall of the mast cut off crucial communication services, the company announced on its Twitter page.

“It’s with great sadness to inform our customers that a VBIED attack destroyed our site in Qaayib, a village in the Galgudud region today. Almost 14,000 people lost access to the company’s services including EVC Plus, the only payment method in the area,” Hormuud stated, referring to its mobile money transfer service.

It said a “a car filled with explosives destroyed the area’s telecom centre, including the telecom masts, leaving the area and its surroundings out of reach”.

Hormuud did not state the costs incurred but said it will rebuild the destroyed infrastructure and restore services.

Somali army and Galmudug State officials confirmed that the militants used a truck bomb, adding that troops defeated the militants who attacked the Qaayib base.

Ahmed Shire Falagle, Galmudug State’s information minister, told the media that Al-Shabaab fighters had lost the Qaayib settlement at the end of September and wanted to retake it.

“Our forces repelled the Monday attackers with heavy casualty,” said Falagle.

Government forces claimed to have killed 20 Al-Shabaab militants.

Since September, the Somali National Army and volunteering vigilantes have been coordinating battles against Al-Shabaab, routing them from villages they had controlled for years in central parts of Somalia. The programme has received public endorsement from President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who recently termed Al-Shabaab as a “morally bankrupt” gang of criminals.

Source: Nam News Network