In what was the most lethal terrorist attack that Somalia has ever experienced, a man killed over 300 people with a truck bomb in the sprawling capital of Mogadishu.
The Guardian reports the man, who was in Somalia's army, may have sought revenge for a botched counter-terror raid on his village by local soldiers and U.S. special forces nearly two months ago.
At least 10 civilians, mainly including local farmers and three children aged 8 to 10 and a woman, were killed in Barire in the operation, which targeted the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab.
"These local farmers were attacked by foreign troops while looking after their crops," the deputy governor of Lower Shabelle region, Ali Nur Mohamed, told reporters in August. "The troops could have arrested them because they were unarmed but instead shot them one by one mercilessly."
Now, investigators are speculating the attacker, who was Barire, may have carried out the Mogadishu terror attack on Oct. 14 as revenge.
It is also believed the attacker was involved in previous attacks in Mogadishu. He joined the army in 2010 but nearly five years later defected from his post to join al-Shabaab.
While the U.S. military was involved in Somalia to a great extent under former U.S. President Barack Obama, it has only increased under Donald Trump. Civilian deaths from the raids has prompted fears of revenge attacks.
“If you go out more aggressively in this kind of environment you risk scoring some serious own goals. The extremists really cranked everything they could out of the botched raid in August. They put out images of the bodies of the kids, published the testimony of supposed witnesses,” a counter-terrorist expert told The Guardian.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters/Feisal Omar