Nigeria/Boko Haram – Nigeria claims to have “fatally wounded” Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, in an air strike targeting a meeting of the commanders of the Islamist group it was reported on the 23 Aug 16. The Nigerian military says that Shekau and other senior leaders of the group gathered for prayers on Friday (possibly 19 Aug 16), and that they were hit by an “air force raid.” The Nigerian military said that several senior Boko Haram commanders were confirmed dead – among them Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu, and Malam Hamman. The army’s statement said Shekau was “believed to be fatally injured on his shoulders.” Fox News reports that Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, the acting director of the Nigerian army’s public relations unit, described the strikes as “the most unprecedented and spectacular air raid.” He said the raid took place “while the terrorists were performing Friday rituals” at Taye village, Gombale general area within Sambisa forest, Borno State. “Several other terrorists were wounded,” he said. Analysts note that this is not the first time the Nigerian army has reported the death of Shekau. The Nigerian authorities announced his death in 2013 and again in September 2014. After Shekau appeared in a video to refute reports of his death, the Nigerian army said it believed a double for Shekau, going by the name Isa Damsaka, had been killed instead. The Nigerian announcement came on the day U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry arrived in Nigeria. Kerry will work to coordinate the U.S. and Nigerian response to Boko Haram which, since 2009, has killed more than 20,000 people and forces millions of Nigerian to flee their homes. Boko Haram transforms “the most vulnerable among us into killers,” Kerry said, noting that ins fanatical campaign against non-Islamic education, the group destroys schools, burns books, murders teachers, and kidnaps students. “Make no mistake, we do not have to be prisoners of these extremists, they can be eliminated,” Kerry said. “We have to strike at the root of violent extremism. Nations need to do more than just denounce dead-end ideologies. There are far too many who join the ranks of these organizations because they have trouble finding meaning in their lives.” The pervasive corruption of Nigeria’s government institutions has hollowed out the Nigerian military. That corruption, and the wide-spread human rights abuses committed by the Nigerian military against civilians, caused the United States to block arms sales to Nigeria and withdraw from the training of Nigerian armed forces. The situation is changing, however, and the United States is now considering selling Nigeria twelve light attack aircraft. The deal must be approved by Congress, where the Leahy amendment (after Senator Patrick Leahy [D-Vermont]) requires a close scrutiny of any arms sales to Nigeria.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gates of a local government headquarters in Somalia while another bomber targeted a nearby marketplace, killing at least 17 people and wounding more than 30 others, police said on the 21 Aug 16. Abdisalam Yusuf with the police said one bomber rammed the car into a checkpoint in Galkayo town Sunday morning after reaching the main gate of Puntland’s local government. Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in northern Somalia, controls the northern part of the town, while the southern part is controlled by rival regional state Galmudug. Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke condemned the twin blasts, saying that “evil-doers” had targeted innocent civilians. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack. The town, unlike other parts of the country where al-Shabaab continues a deadly guerrilla campaign, rarely sees such attacks.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – At least 10 people have been killed after al-Shabaab fighters attacked a beach restaurant in the capital Mogadishu with a car bomb before entering into a gunfight with security forces, according to police and the group. "A car bomb exploded at Banadir beach restaurant at Lido beach and there is exchange of gunfire. We have no other details so far," Major Ahmed Ibrahim, a police officer said on the 26 Aug 16. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack. "We attacked the Banadir beach restaurant and now our fighters are fighting inside it," Abdiasis Abu Musab, its military operation spokesman said. The Associated Press news agency reported that a car bomber had prematurely detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near the new Turkish embassy compound in the capital, according to a Somali police officer. In January, its fighters stormed another restaurant on Lido beach in Jan 16, killing 17 people.
Somalia/al-Shabaab – The death toll from a car bomb blast in Somalia's capital Mogadishu has risen to at least 15, police said. The 30 Aug 16 suicide bombing near the Somali president's palace in Mogadishu caused a huge blast and destroyed two hotels nearby. "The number of the people who died in the blast reached 15 and 45 others were injured most of them lightly," said Mogadishu police chief Bishar Abshir Gedi. A news agency said al-Shabaab fighters claimed responsibility for the attack. Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir said on the 30m Aug 16 that a security official were gathered inside the SYL at the time of blast, and that one minister and some state radio journalists were injured. The hotel is frequented by government officials and police said it believed the facility was the likely target.