News / Africa

Islamist Rebels Claim Responsibility for Bombing in Somalia

Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist rebels have claimed responsibility for Tuesday's suicide car bomb attack at a base for African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu. The al-Qaida-linked militants say the bombing was in retaliation for the recent killings of two senior al-Qaida commanders in Iraq.

The spokesman for al-Shabab, Ali Mohamud Rage, called Tuesday's suicide attack a "success," claiming that the explosion destroyed a former Somali commercial bank building housing African Union peacekeeping troops from Uganda.

Rage says the blast killed 20 peacekeepers, disputing statements made earlier by the Ugandan spokesman for the peacekeeping mission known as AMISOM.

AMISOM spokesman, Major Barigye Ba-Hoku, told VOA Somali Service that African Union soldiers foiled the attack by killing three would-be suicide bombers inside the vehicle. He said two soldiers were wounded when the explosives-laden vehicle blew up before it reached the entrance to the base. Ugandan newspapers subsequently reported that five soldiers had been wounded, one seriously.

Al-Shabab, considered a terrorist group by the West, says the attack was carried out in retaliation for the killing of two top al-Qaida leaders in Iraq. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri were killed last week during an Iraqi-U.S. military raid on their safe house in Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

Al-Shabab, which is fighting to create an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate in the Horn of Africa, recently proclaimed allegiance to al-Qaida and has expressed solidarity with al-Qaida-affliated groups. Al-Baghdadi was the self-described leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, an off-shoot of al-Qaida, and al-Masri was a weapons expert trained in Afghanistan.

The suicide car attack in Mogadishu Tuesday triggered another round of violence in the Somali capital. Witnesses say al-Shabab traded mortars and gunfire for more than four hours with AMISOM, Somali government troops and pro-government militiamen. At least 14 civilians are reported to have been killed in the cross-fire.

Uganda and Burundi are the only contributors to the 5,300-member peacekeeping mission in Somalia, which has a mandate to keep Somalia's weak U.N.-backed transitional government from being toppled by al-Shabab and other radical Islamist groups.

The United States and European Union countries are heavily involved in the training of AMISOM and Somali troops, making them a frequent target of insurgent attacks. Suicide and roadside bombings blamed on al-Shabab have killed nearly three dozen AMISOM soldiers since the first contingent of Ugandan troops arrived in Mogadishu in 2007.

In recent months, AMISOM, as well as insurgent groups, have been sharply criticized by Somali and international human rights groups for indiscriminately shelling populated areas of the capital and causing high civilian casualties. An estimated 21,000 Somalis are believed to have been killed, mostly in Mogadishu, since the insurgency against the government began three years ago.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More