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Al-Shabab Group Threatens More Terror Attacks in Somalia


Somalia's militant al-Shabab group has promised to launch more attacks against African Union peacekeeping troops a day after 11 soldiers from Burundi were killed in blasts claimed by the group.

On an Internet website, al-Shabab posted pictures of the two young men it says were responsible for Sunday's deadly attack on the Mogadishu compound housing peacekeepers from Burundi.

A statement in Somali accompanied the photos, warning the group would launch more attacks if the 3,500 AMISOM (African Union mission in Somalia) soldiers from Burundi and Uganda did not leave the country immediately.

An A.U. official confirmed suicide bombings left 11 soldiers dead and 15 wounded. It was the deadliest strike against African Union troops since their arrival in Somalia nearly two years ago to help stabilize the country.

In an interview with VOA, AMISOM spokesman, Ugandan army Major Bariyge Ba-Hoku expressed anger at al-Shabab's relentless use of violence.

"Sheik Muktar Robow, who made the statement praising the two young men who perished according to him, why cannot he himself send his own children into committing suicide? He is sending the children of other people, not his. It means he is keeping himself and his family safe and he is destroying the families of other people. And the Somalis need to look at him as someone who is an enemy of the country," he said.

The African Union described the attack against AMISOM as an attempt to detract attention from efforts to form a new unity government under President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. He was the moderate Islamist who led the Islamic Courts Union before the movement was ousted from power by Ethiopia in late 2006.

After the Islamist leader participated in U.N.-sponsored talks that paved the way for an Ethiopian troop withdrawal from Somalia last month, Sheik Sharif was elected president of Somalia's interim government by an expanded parliament. He and his newly-appointed, western-educated Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke have pledged to reach out to al-Shabab and its allied militias to end the anti-government insurgency and to form the first functioning government in Somalia in 18 years.

President Sharif says the government needs the help of international peacekeepers to re-establish order and wants AMISOM troops to stay. But al-Shabab, listed by Washington as a terrorist organization, has refused to accept the presence of foreign troops in Somalia and has repeatedly attacked AMISOM bases anda convoys.

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