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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid