GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: Traders in Mogadishu’s largest market, Bakaro have been forced to close their shops while others have removed signboards to remain anonymous following an upsurge of the ISS militant group, Goobjoog News investigations reveal.
Several traders who spoke to Goobjoog News on condition of anonymity for security reasons narrated the agony they are now forced into by the terrorist group which uses intimidations and bombings to ensure the traders pay ‘taxes’ to them.
On January 18, a trader was targeted with an improvised explosive device in Madina area while two more suffered a similar fate in Bakaro market on January 24 after they failed to honour demands by ISS.
One source said traders now fear for their lives and some have closed down their businesses as the militant group that first sprang in Somalia in 2015 in Puntland spreads its terror.
In other instances, some traders have removed signboards from their shops to avoid ISS spies from collecting contact details. While ISS comes down hard on these traders, Al-Shabaab too demands its share with defaulters facing dire consequences.
The so-called Islamic State in Somalia (ISS) first emerged in Galgala mountain ranges in Puntland’s Bari region in 2015 led by former UK based cleric Abdulkadir Mumin but has since spread its tentacles to southern and central regions of the country including the capital Mogadishu.
PRESSURE FROM AL-SHABAAB
The group faced resistance from Al-Shabaab in an all-drawn war in 2018 which saw most of the ISS operatives in Mogadishu killed or forced out of the city. The group has however maintained a presence in the city albeit on a low profile. ISS fighters have conducted several targeted killings by shooting as opposed to Al-Shabaab which deploys large scale means such as bombings and IEDs.
Despite the spate of attacks and terror on businesses in Bakaro, traders who talked to Goobjoog News said security forces have either chosen to look the other way or keep safe for their lives’ sake.
Police officers in Bakaro have in the past become easy targets of ISS operatives.
As the biggest open market in Somalia, Bakaro is one of the lucrative revenue sources for militant groups. Al-Shabaab, which commands the largest revenue base has fiercely fought off ISS from Bakaro to ensure exclusive control to its revenue source.