Intel source for AU compound attack?

al-shahab.jpgThe Long War Journal has an interesting little post relating to the 17 September twin suicide VBIED attack on an African Union peacekeeping for compound. As I noted in this post, this was a well planned and executed attack, timed to strike at a meeting where the AU’s senior officers would be present. The attack killed, among others, the Deputy Commander of the AU force.

According o the LWJ, one of the sources for the intelligence that facilitated the attack may have been Somalia’s own minister of defence, Sheikh Yusuf Mohammad Siad. Citing an anonymous source, the LWJ claims that Siad provided the information in return for $50,000 from the Islamist al-Shahab group which later claimed responsibility for the attack.

The LWJ claims that:

[Siad] was also present at the meeting but left the airport moments before the suicide bombing; later he publicly stated that he ‘knew’about the incoming attack.

If true, this would explain how al-Shahab knew exactly the time to strike the meeting. This was clearly an important operation for the militants – using two stolen UN vehicles to access the compound, sacrificing an English speaking Somali-American as a suicide attacker and paying a relatively large quantity of cash for the information which allowed the whole attack to be coordinated.

All very interesting and a demonstration of a pretty sophisticated suicide attack capability. Looks like I need to do a bit more research on this group.


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