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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid