Somalia On High Alert After U.S. Embassy Warns of Threats in Mogadishu

Published: April 8, 2024

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi has issued a severe warning about threats against multiple locations in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, including the Aden Adde International Airport. In a statement released Monday, the embassy stated it “has received information about threats against many places in Mogadishu” and as a result, “all activities of the U.S. Embassy staff have been suspended on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.”

The warning has sparked panic throughout Mogadishu, particularly in areas where government officials gather. The U.S. State Department has designated its highest “level four: do not travel” advisory for Somalia due to risks including crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.

The threat alert comes amid upheaval in Somalia’s national intelligence agency NISA. Former director Fahad Yassin harshly criticized the recent removal of Mahad Salad as agency chief, accusing Salad of close cooperation with Al-Shabaab terrorists and alleging he plotted murders against government officials, even attempting to kill Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre.

Salad was dismissed following attack on the SYL hotel in Mogadishu, after CCTV footage suggested the Al-Shabaab militants responsible for the assault had received inside assistance in breaching the presidential compound.

A handover ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday at NISA headquarters where Abdullahi Sanbaloolshe will assume leadership of the intelligence agency, replacing the ousted Salad.

Somali officials are urging citizens to remain vigilant as security is heightened across Mogadishu in response to the U.S. embassy’s threat warning. The situation underscores the persistent volatility and dangers posed by Al-Shabaab in the long-unstable nation.