Mogadishu, Somalia — A report that was obtained exclusively by SOFREP confirmed a joint U.S.- Somali Special Operations commando raid on an encampment occupied by the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group known as Harak al-Shabaab al-Muhajideen, or simply, al-Shabaab. The joint raid occurred in the early Thursday morning in the town of Kunyo Barow just south of the coastal city of Barawe in southern Somalia. SOFREP has confirmed that the terror group’s deputy commander and chief spokesperson, Sheikh Ali Dhere, otherwise known as, Ali Mohamud Rage was killed during the raid.
Local reporting close to the raid say that there were two targets hit, one of which is suspected of being a “detention center” of sorts in which the commandos supposedly freed several prisoners. SOFREP spoke with a high level source within the Somali military who had direct knowledge of the raid which confirmed the reports that U.S. Special Operations were there saying, “it [the joint special operation raid] was very successful operation by joint US and special commandos force as confirmed by the District Commmisioner of Barawe city.” The source went on to describe the al-Shabaab camp as one of biggest of its kind in the widely al-Shabaab controlled Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia.
The source reported that the commandos used a ‘two-pronged’ attack with one group arriving from helicopters with a follow-on ground force arriving directly afterward, “The operation was both helicopter and ground.” When asked if any of the commandos were lost, the source merely said; “the total death from both sides is not confirmed yet.” However the source did confirm that al-Shabaab’s deputy commander Rage was killed in the raid.
Ali Mohamud Rage replaced Sheikh Mukhtar Robow as al-Shabaab’s chief spokesperson in 2013 after Robow and the then overall leader of the terror group, Ahmed Abdi Godane, had a falling out which turned bloody; resulting in Robow exiling himself to his home village of Huder, surrounded by his Rahanweyn clan in the Bakool region in southern Somalia.
Godane met his demise in 2014 by way of a U.S. drone strike.
Rage was seen just last month in a series of propaganda videos released by al-Shabaab’s media wing, al-Katāi’b Media. Where the deputy commander was speaking at an al-Shabaab recruit “basic training” graduation ceremony. Throughout the series of videos, Rage leveled threats of violence against the West and especially at Somalia’s southern neighbor Kenya declaring that, “You [Kenya] have gained a never-ending war, even inside your own country. We tell the Kenyan crusaders; you have perpetrated all these atrocities; you’ve massacred many Muslims,” and went on to declare more attacks on Kenyan people and the country’s security forces in the very near future.
Little is known of who exactly from the U.S. Special Operations were part of this raid and more than likely we never will. Historically these types of joint special operations have been conducted by none other than SEAL Team 6 of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). If this was the work of SEAL Team 6, then more than likely the elite JSOC commandos came from the U.S. Naval Expeditionary Base called Camp Lemonnier in Dijbouti.
Camp Lemonnier supports Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa and houses the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) under the command of U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM). The Somali commando contingent most likely came from the U.S. Special Forces trained Danaab Group, or Lightening of the Somalian National Army Special Operations unit The Gashaan.
SOFREP reached out to USAFRICOM for comment on the joint U.S. – Somali commando raid and Captain Jennifer Dyrcz, USAFRICOM’s Media Relations Officer had this to say;
“U.S. forces conducted an advise and assist mission against al-Shabaab with members of the Somali National Army July 12 (if EDT) in Kunyo Barrow, Somalia. We will not speak to air platforms due to operational security reasons. Al-Shabaab presents a threat to Americans and American interests. Al Shabaab’s affiliate, al Qaeda has murdered Americans; radicalizes and recruits terrorists and fighters in the United States; and attempts to conduct and inspire attacks against Americans, our allies and our interests around the world, including here at home.
U.S. forces are assisting partner forces to counter al-Shabaab in Somalia to degrade the al-Qaeda affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America. We continue to support our Somali and regional partners to systematically dismantle this al Qaeda affiliate, and help them to achieve stability and security throughout the region as part of the global counterterrorism effort.”
This is a heavy blow to the terror group al-Shabaab as they have been getting rocked back on their heels in recent months. This latest raid on the senior leadership will send the group into something of a temporary disarray and is showing these radical insurgents that Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo was quite serious when he declared an all out war on al-Shabaab in April of this year.
Feature image courtesy of: al-Katāi’b