The July 24 suicide bombing that killed the mayor of Somalia's capital was disturbing on multiple levels, security experts say. Abdirahman Omar Osman was slain by one of his own aides, who was female and blind, and who acted in concert with another one of his employees, also female.
Besides those unsettling facts, Osman's death highlighted a cold, hard reality: militant group al-Shabab had again infiltrated an important Somali government entity. The government's long-running battle to subdue the al-Qaida-linked militants has been hobbled by al-Shabab's infiltration of government agencies, offices and security teams.
In April this year, authorities arrested the commissioner of Mahaas, a town in central Somalia, for facilitating an al-Shabab suicide bombing that killed the commissioner's deputy.
In 2016, a court convicted Abdiweli Mohamed Maow, the head of Mogadishu airport security, for helping to smuggle a laptop computer bomb onto a outbound flight. The bomb exploded 15 minutes after takeoff but miraculously failed to bring down the plane, which safely returned to the Mogadishu airport. In the worst case, a top official in Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Abdisalam Mohamed Hassan, was found guilty in 2014 of providing photos of agents and other identifying data to al-Shabab.
Officials say Hassan collaborated with al-Shabab for economic reasons. “He was promised $30,000 but he received a smaller amount,” one security official tells VOA. “He was getting married and he was spending a lot of money.” Hassan is now serving a life sentence.
After the attack on the Mogadishu mayor, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, ordered the government to come up with a comprehensive plan to root out individuals in government agencies who are "aiding terrorists directly and indirectly."
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