News

Al-Shabab Launches New Attacks on Somalia's Presidential Palace

A Somali man carries the body of a one year old child who was killed by a mortar shell that slammed into a family's house Sunday night, to a grave in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, March 19, 2012.
A Somali man carries the body of a one year old child who was killed by a mortar shell that slammed into a family's house Sunday night, to a grave in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, March 19, 2012.

For two nights in a row, al-Shabab militants have attacked Somalia's presidential palace with mortars, killing five people and injuring many more.  A senior al-Shabab commander says the group is trying to switch tactics.

Attempt to spread fear

The Somali government described the latest incidents as a desperate attempt by al-Shabab to spread fear.

Somali government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman told VOA these are the first mortar attacks he's seen in Mogadishu since the African Union force, or AMISOM, drove the militants out of the capital last year.

“[In the last] couple of nights, we have witnessed mortar attacks coming and targeting civilians.  As a result of that have caused injuries and deaths to civilians," Osman stated. "This is something that is new to Mogadishu since we have liberated the city from al-Shabab.  Now this seems to be new tactics al-Shabab are trying to deploy, which they are always good at continuing harming civilians.”

Witnesses say the first mortars, early Monday morning, landed on a displaced persons camp next to the presidential compound and killed five people.

Arrests made, security increased

Osman says security officials have made some arrests and have also doubled security in the city.

Somali government and AMISOM forces have pushed al-Shabab out of its former Mogadishu strongholds, but the group has continued to carry out sporadic rocket, bomb, and suicide attacks in the capital.

“Remnants of al-Shabab are within the population. They try to seize an opportunity to harm and now they try to make headlines that Mogadishu is not safe.  We will not allow those remnants to continue harming the population,” Osman said.

In areas around the presidential palace and government ministries, African Union forces have handed many of the security responsibilities to Somali police and the National Security Agency (NSA).

AMISOM spokesman Paddy Ankunda says they are helping the government to better protect the palace, known as Villa Somalia. “We are here to support the government and that’s why we still have few soldiers deployed around Villa Somalia to protect the seat of power.  Security agencies, police and the National Security Agency working together with AMISOM are investigating these recent mortar attacks and soon we will be able to find a solution.  We would like to halt these attacks," Ankunda said. "And the starting point is to investigate them and then we can find a solution.”

Al-Shabab's tactics

One of al-Shabab's most senior leaders aired a message on the group's radio station late Monday saying guerilla tactics are the only way to defeat AMISOM.

In a 25-minute message, Abu Zubeyr, best known as Ahmed Godane, called on other Somalis to voluntarily join the jihad, or holy war.

He also said al-Shabab is uniting with another militant faction in Puntland - possibly bringing the fight to the northern semi-autonomous region.

The group, which is allied with al-Qaida, is trying to overthrow the government and turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs