Burundian bloodshed: Al-Shabab reveals bomber’s identity

MOGADISHU, Somalia (Caasimada Online) – Al-Shabab, the Somali-based Islamist extremist group, has on Sunday revealed the identity of the suicide bomber behind the devastating attack on March 7 in the Janay Abdalla area of the Lower Jubba region. 

The targeted camp housed the Somalia National Army and forces of the Jubaland Administration, one of Somalia’s five federal member states. 

The revelation comes as Somali forces continue to engage in a fierce conflict against the militants who have waged a brutal insurgency for approximately 15 years.

The suicide bomber’s background  

The group identified the suicide bomber as Dnayizeye Isack Khalid, also known as Showkani. 

Al-Shabab released a video of Khalid before the attack, showing him driving a truck loaded with explosives. In the recording, he claimed to be a Burundian national and a member of the Hutu tribe. 

Born in 1992, Khalid allegedly spent seven years in Somalia before carrying out the attack.

In their propaganda, Al-Shabab frequently emphasizes the involvement of foreign fighters, asserting they fight to liberate the Somali people from foreign military intervention. 

Al-Shabab took responsibility for the base attack, claiming the death of 89 soldiers – a figure yet to be independently verified. 

Abdulaziz Abu Mus’ab, the group’s military affairs spokesperson, informed Al-Shabab media that militants had seized 20 vehicles from government forces. 

He also mentioned that al-Shabab ambushed government reinforcements sent from Yontoy and Bar Sanguni bases east of Janaa Abdalle.

Somali government counters claim

Somali officials argue that they successfully “repulsed” the al-Shabab attack. 

Mohamud Sayid Aden, the deputy president of Jubaland state, told VOA Somali that Al-Shabab militants used explosives and armed fighters to assault Janay Abdalle, 60 kilometers west of Kismayo. 

“This morning, the Khawarij (deviants) attacked Janaa Abdalle base, a strategic base captured from them before,” he said at the time, adding that Somali troops successfully defended the base despite the use of explosives and suicide bombing.

Aden honored the fallen soldiers, stating, “Brave men are among the dead, and as opined in a fatwa (ruling) by the religious scholars, they will be in paradise.” 

He also disputed al-Shabab’s claims of high casualty figures among regional and federal forces.

Ongoing efforts against Al-Shabab

In January, Somali forces recaptured Janay Abdalla from militants as part of an intensified government campaign against them in which the president called “an all-out war.”

In recent months, the Somali army and local militias called “Macawisley” have recovered vast territories in the central Galmudug and HirShabelle states. This operation received support from US airstrikes.

Hussein Sheikh-Ali, the government’s national security adviser, revealed plans for a second phase of military operations involving extra troops from the three countries bordering Somalia: Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. 

Although driven out of Mogadishu and other major urban centers over a decade ago, Al-Shabab maintains a stronghold in rural central and southern Somalia. 

Additionally, despite the advances made by pro-government forces, militants continue to demonstrate their ability to strike back with deadly force against both civilian and military targets.

Last year, after the offensive launched, Al-Shabab executed its deadliest attack when two car bombs exploded at the education ministry in Mogadishu, killing 121 people in October. 

The incident was a stark reminder of the group’s resilience and capacity to launch high-casualty attacks despite losing ground to pro-government forces.