Somali Police Say Dozens Arrested in Capital After Assassination

Somali police forces patrol near the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu. Photo:REUTERS/Omar Faruk

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Somali authorities raided a district of the capital, Mogadishu, seizing dozens of suspected al-Shabaab members, a day after the Islamist militants shot dead a local commissioner.

Security forces swept the city’s Wadajir district early Thursday, briefly detaining hundreds of people, police officer Isse Mohamed said by phone. Wadajir’s deputy commissioner, Abdifatah Barre, was shot dead on Wednesday morning in an attack claimed by al-Shabaab.

“After conducting house-to-house searches the police managed to capture dozens of suspected al-Shabaab members” who will appear in court soon, Mohamed said. Wadajir resident Nacima Sharmarke said by phone that several hundred people, including her brother, were held and released after questioning.

Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab is waging an insurgency in the Horn of Africa nation, staging gun and grenade attacks to try and destabilize the government and impose Islamic law. Barre’s murder underscores the challenge President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud faces in restoring security before elections scheduled for next year.

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