On Saturday, March 30, Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman declared the start of security operations in Mogadishu amid a spike in terror-related violence in the city. Officials indicate security forces will execute house-to-house raids in the capital targeting residences suspected of harboring Al-Shabaab militants. The government will reportedly deploy additional security reinforcements and impose localized travel restrictions (e.g. road closures) during operations. A heightened security presence and transportation disruption are likely over the coming weeks and months.
The move comes as Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire convened an emergency cabinet meeting on March 30 during which he removed the Ministers of Defense and Information and reshuffled military leadership. Al-Shabaab has carried out several deadly car bombings and complex attacks in Mogadishu between March 14-31.
Al-Shabaab continues to exercise effective control over large zones in the south and center of Somalia and attacks from the group are frequent across the country, including in Mogadishu. The group often targets government officials and military infrastructure in a bid to topple the West- and UN-backed government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam in Somalia.
Individuals in Mogadishu are advised to avoid the affected area, monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Somalia remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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