News / Africa

Mortar Kills AU Peacekeepers in Somalia

A mortar attack on the presidential palace in the Somali capital has killed at least four African Union peacekeepers and critically wounded nine others. For the past week, the peacekeeping force, protecting the country's U.N.-backed government in Mogadishu, has been battling a new round of attacks by al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants.

Failed attack

According to the spokesman of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, Barigye Ba-Hoku, a mortar round fired from an al-Shabab position near the presidential palace exploded near a contingent of Ugandan peacekeepers guarding the palace compound, also known as Villa Somalia.

Ba-Hoku called the mortar strike a "lucky hit" for the al-Qaida-linked militants, who are battling to overthrow Somalia's weak, U.N.-backed government and to force the withdrawal of the peacekeeping force.

Uganda and Burundi are the only countries contributing troops to the 6,000-member African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Uganda was the target of twin suicide bombings last month in Kampala, which al-Shabab said it carried out in retaliation for Uganda's participation in the peacekeeping mission.

al-Shabab renews efforts

Vowing last week to wage a massive, final war against the government and the African Union troops, al-Shabab has renewed its efforts to seize power in the Somali capital.

Last Tuesday, two al-Shabab suicide bombers, disguised as government security forces, killed more than 30 people, including parliament members and civil servants at a Mogadishu hotel. As the fighting in the capital escalated, killing and wounding dozens more, reports suggested that hundreds of al-Shabab reinforcements had arrived from other parts of Somalia.

On Friday, al-Shabab's self-styled mayor, Ali Mohamed Hussein, said al-Shabab had captured government military bases and the Mogadishu base of pro-government Sufi Muslim militia, Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a.

Declaring al-Shabab victory in Friday's battle, Hussein said the extremist group was getting closer to its goal of throwing out the government. An Ahlu-Sunna official subsequently denied that the Sufi militia had been defeated and said the militia had only made a tactical retreat.  

Some of the worst fighting in the Somali capital occurred the following day, as al-Shabab fighters pressed their way into Muka al-Mukarama Road, a vital thoroughfare that connects the presidential palace and government ministries to the airport.

Questions raised

Government soldiers, backed up by African Union firepower, beat back the al-Shabab advance. But the incident raised further questions about the government, which has not been able to stand up a security force of its own.

In the past two years, thousands of Somalis have been given police and military training by various countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, and European Union member states, to keep al-Shabab at bay while the government demonstrated that it could govern and provide basic services to the people. But the majority of the recruits are believed to have defected to al-Shabab or have sold their uniform and arms and disappeared after the government failed to pay their salaries.

In a press release, Somali President Sharif Sheik Ahmed said the government is committed to re-establishing law and order in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia. But he said it needed far more attention and financial help from the international community.

President Sharif noted that Somalia does not receive the kind of international assistance given to other countries suffering terrorist-related violence, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, even though Somalia is facing a similar, if not more potent, enemy.

You May Like

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid