The 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.
Indonesian security forces scored a major coup recently, with the killing on 17 September of Noordin Mohammad Top, leader of Tanzim Qaedat al-Jihad, a splinter group from Jemaah Islamyia. Top was said to be responsible for a string off suicide attacks in South East Asia, including the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, the 2003 attack on the Jakarta Marriott hotel, the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and, most recently, the 17 July attacks on the Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta. With Noordin’s death, new details have emerged regarding these final two atatcks, and it seems worthwhile to look in some detail at how these attacks were mounted.
One of the interesting side effects of the defeat of the LTTE by the Sri Lankan military has been a spate of new information regarding previous incidents. Presumably the Sri Lankan intelligence services have had a field day, interrogating captured Tigers and poring over seized document caches.
A good example concerns the April 2006 attempted suicide assassination bid against the head of Sri Lanka’s army, Sarath Fonseka. He was seriously injured when a female LTTE Black Tiger ( 21-year-old Anoja Kugenthirasah) detonated herself inside the perimeter of the headquarters of the Sri Lankan military. At the time, the attack drew a lot of attention, partly because of the apparent security breach, partly because the bomber may have used being pregnant as a cover for getting into the base (by attending a clinic held at the site’s hospital).