At the beginning of this month Al-Shabab executed two men at Maslah in Suqa Holaha neighborhood in North Mogadishu. The two men were Abdullahi Haji who was alleged to have been a spy for the TFG, and Abdinasir Hussein (better known as Japan) who was convicted of murdering dozens in Mogadishu.Of the two, the case of Abdinasir is bizarre and has been followed by residents of Mogadishu for months.
Abdinasir was among the mid-level commanders of Al-Shabab’s Banadir Security Department. He was in charge of operations in Madina area (Wadajir and Dharkenley districts) from 2007-09, where he ordered or personally led assassinations of at least a dozen TFG officials. The number of soldiers and policemen killed by his hit men are much higher, probably 50.
Due to the lack of pay by Al-Shabab at that time, he used to take ‘protection’ money from businessmen and big companies based in Bakaraha. People who refused to pay were killed and labeled as spies working for the government.
Many in the Shabab Security and others in Hisbul Islam’s Hesbah (police) started getting into the business of extorting big business. Soon the extortionists had a system that transcended factional boundaries. They started getting more overt and named themselves The Takers.
By the end of 2009 they had become so audacious that they started robbing money remittance agencies. They took about a hundred thousand dollars from Qaran and Dahabshiil in broad daylight, and were stupid enough to use Shabab cars to do that. It was clear to all that Al-Shabab Security was the one responsible for the extortions, killings, and now the robberies.
It was decided by Al-Shabab leadership in January 2010 to have the military (their most honest department) round up the suspects. The suspects were all easily identified due to their lavish lifestyles, and personal cars that were not Shabab-issued. They were also very loose with Security; ten of them were rounded up from Mogadishu Stadium where they were playing football. They didn’t expect that the military would be used to investigate the matter, and therefore didn’t have sentries to guard them as they enjoyed themselves. In total sixteen members of The Takers were taken into custody. Six of them escaped, including the infamous Tariq (an Oromo Shabab who was a member of Abdinasir Japan’s hit team) who would later join the TFG.
Abdinasir Japan was in Madina when his co-conspirators were arrested. He quickly got a deal for himself with the TFG. He was given immunity and a license to kill suspected Al-Shabab members in Madina. He called his hit team to have a meeting with him in Medina, and had all of them killed or arrested depending on their ‘extremity’.
Abdinasir Japan enlisted many members of The Takers including Tariq into his new TFG unit that was basically a hit team to hunt down Al-Shabab in Madina. He hunted down and killed many Shabab he knew, and also killed more people just because they looked Shabab (being under 30 and looking religious).
He also organized attacks into Shabab-held territory, killing many. The most infamous of his operations is the attack he carried out against the Abdalla Shideye Mosque (now renamed Martyrs Mosque), killing 45 and wounding 70. Two mobile-phone-controlled IEDs were placed at both entrances to the Mosque, going off seconds of each other. Many of The Takers sold their weapons and left him as a result of that operation, which they regarded as apostasy.
Abdinasir had a change of heart after that attack and decided to defect back to the Shabab. It is not clear what made him think that Al-Shabab would forgive him after all he did to their operatives and the Mosque he blew up. It seems the indoctrination shabab gave him prior to his defection to the TFG had an effect: he did not want to live with all that blood in his hand. According to his indoctrination, he was a Fighting Apostate. Only surrender to Sharia could cleanse his sins.
Whatever made him want to go back to Shabab, he killed the Deputy District Commissioner of Wadajir Ali Yare, and took his 4×4 and two truckloads of weapons with him to Shabab in mid-2010. He expected to be welcomed like a hero, but he was blindfolded and detained in Baidoa, where he was subjected to extreme interrogations for months.
There were rumors of his beheading for months, and his recent public execution has closed the speculation floated by TFG operatives trying to get info about his whereabouts.
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