AVA- The group was forced from Mogadishu in 2011 and most towns and cities but it retains a strong presence outside the capital and launches frequent bombings and other attacks in a campaign to topple the federal government.
"The (security) operation is now over. Al-Shabab killed 15 people including the cleric, his wife, his followers and his guards," Captain Nur Mohamed, a police officer, told media from Galkayo by phone.
"Three militants who stormed the center were also shot dead."
The group took responsibility for the attack and put the number of dead at 26. It said some soldiers who responded to the first attack also died as they tried to remove a second car bomb.
"We killed 26 people, including the owner of the center, his followers, his bodyguards and soldiers," Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, said.
Abdirashid Hashi, the governor of Mudug region, told media that al-Shabab had threatened Abdiweli on numerous occasions.
An elder in Galkayo said Abdiweli had provided free boarding to former pirates, street boys and jobless men and they became his followers.
"He used to tell teenagers: "If you were a pirate, or a bandit, stop it and come and eat food and sleep here. God will forgive your sins. Some other ignorant teenagers thought he was as saint ... and so joined him," local elder Ismail Abdirahman told.
"We understood there was something wrong with him but we could not take him to court because the man was well-armed."
In a separate attack in Mogadishu on Monday, at least three people died when a car bomb exploded in front of shops in the Wadajir district of the capital, police and witnesses said.
"A parked car laden with explosives exploded in front of shops. So far we know three people died," Major Mohamed Hussein, a police officer, told Reuters. "Death toll may rise because there are many shops there."
Tuesday 27 November 2018 00:14