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Who was Colonel Mohamed Al Mansouri? The high-ranking UAE official killed in Mogadishu attack

Monday February 12, 2024


Undated photo of Colonel Mohamed Al Mansouri, a high-ranking official of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) military, who was recently killed in an attack at a military training facility in Mogadishu, Somalia. Al Mansouri was known for his significant role in the UAE's strategic operations within Somalia.

Mogadishu (HOL) - Colonel Mohamed Al Mansouri, a high-ranking official from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was among several officers killed in a recent attack at an Emirati-run military training facility in Mogadishu, Somalia. The UAE's news agency WAM reported that their bodies were returned to Abu Dhabi aboard a military plane, where a ceremony attended by senior defence officials and relatives paid tribute to their service. The fallen officers, identified as Al Mansouri, Mohamed Al Shamsi, Khalifa Al Balushi, and Corporal Suleiman Al Shehhi, were honoured by senior Emirati defence officials for their contributions to training and reinforcing Somalia's armed forces.

An anonymous source within the security and intelligence community shared with the BBC that Colonel Al-Mansouri played a vital role in the UAE's strategic operations in Somalia. As a central figure in UAE military intelligence, Al Mansouri was celebrated for his expertise in crafting and executing the Gulf nation's strategic objectives in Somalia, demonstrating a level of authority and capability beyond that of a typical senior military officer. 

"He wielded more influence than a typical senior military officer. His position, identified as Warrant Officer 1, signifies a specialist role. This rank is typically held by officers who have ascended to the military grades ranging from lieutenant colonel," the official informed the BBC.

Despite his relatively low profile in Somalia, Yemeni media outlets have exposed grave accusations against Colonel Mohammed Mubarak Al-Mansouri. Reports and statements from Yemeni activists allege Al-Mansouri's involvement in the torture and murder of Yemeni detainees in covert UAE-controlled prisons in Aden, southern Yemen.

Adel Al-Hassani, a political activist who claims to have endured arrest and torture in these infamous Aden facilities years prior, accused Colonel Al-Mansouri of exterminating numerous detainees and causing the disappearance of many from the southern provinces, territories under the Emirati-Saudi coalition's domain.

Al-Hassani further alleged that Mohammed Mubarak Al-Mansouri inflicted severe harm on numerous detainees, resulting in disabilities and psychological disorders, including blindness and severe mental health issues.

The UAE has been militarily active in Yemen since 2015 as part of a Saudi-led coalition aiming to restore the internationally recognized Yemeni government from Houthi forces.

Before his death, Mohamed Al Mansouri had also visited the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) army's headquarters in Puntland, situated in Bosaso, among other locations within Somalia. The UAE has been instrumental in training, equipping, and overseeing the PMPF, Puntland's naval force, which engages in operations against maritime crime and terrorism.

The death of Colonel Al Mansouri and his colleagues in Mogadishu raises concerns over the future of Somalia's military collaboration with the UAE, a


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