Deputy chief of ISIS-linked group in Somalia killed: Officials

Somali intelligence officials say the deputy leader of an Islamic State-affiliated extremist group based in northern Somalia has been killed in the capital.

The officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to reporters told The Associated Press that Mahad Moalim's body was found near a Mogadishu beach last week, a few days after he reportedly was abducted while secretly visiting the city.

The officials said his relatives have accused other deputies in the extremist group. Reports have emerged that the group's leader was ill, creating rivalry among possible successors.

The United States in February sanctioned Moalim as a "specially designated global terrorist," saying he was responsible for facilitating shipments of weapons and fighters across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen.

Abdiqadir Mumin, an elderly British extremist, founded the ISIS-linked group that is said to have several dozen fighters. It has claimed attacks against Somali authorities and other targets in the northern Puntland region, where it is based, and more recently in and outside Mogadishu. The group is said to fund its activities by extorting civilians.

"It is unclear exactly how many claims made by the group are legitimate, as few are reported by local media or proven with visual evidence. Some assassination claims, however, are followed up with photo or video proof," analyst Caleb Weiss wrote in the Long War Journal in May.

While the ISIS-affiliated group is far smaller than the al-Qaeda-based al-Shabaab group and its thousands of fighters in Somalia, analysts say it has managed to attract a number of al-Shabaab fighters.

It also has attracted the attention of the US military, which began targeting the extremist group with airstrikes late last year.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 315 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 3983 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
12% - 579 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.