Tag: Al-Shabab

Judging the threat of al-Shabab in Africa

REF: Al-Shabab fighters in Somalia have struck again – managing to evade security measures to stage an attack in downtown Mogadishu.

 

Their target, yet again, a hotel popular with government leaders and members of parliament.Al-Shabab have waged a relentless war against the government since being forced from the capital.

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Somalia: Government captures al-Shabab militia bases

Ref: For the past two years Bulo Hawo has been mainly under the control of the Islamist al-Shabab militia.

Government troops, backed by forces from the African Union, also gained ground from the group in the country’s capital, Mogadishu.

Reports suggest about 50 peacekeepers were killed in the offensive but the UN has not confirmed how many died.
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Shelling kills nine in Mogadishu

Ref: Al-Shabab fighters have attacked African Union peacekeepers’ position in the capital Mogadishu, sparking heavy shelling at the populous Bakara market, which claimed the lives of at least nice civilians, and injuring at least three.

Al-Shabab fighters

Al-Shabab fighters


Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow said the death toll “is likely to rise.”The attack coincides with the return of President Ahmed to Mogadishu from New York, where he participated in the UN General Assembly last week.
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Somali presidential palace shelled

Ref: Four African Union (AU) peacekeepers have been killed in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, after al-Shabab fighters fired a mortar at the presidential palace.

“A mortar was fired at one of our positions, and it killed four soldiers and injured eight,” said Ba-Hoku Barigye, a spokesman for the peacekeeping force.

Uganda and Burundi have deployed more than 6,300 troops to support Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

The AU pledged last month to expand the force, with both Guinea and Djibouti promising new troops.

Monday’s mortar attack was the latest bloody clash in a week of heavy fighting between al-Shabab and the peacekeepers.

At least six people were killed in several battles on Wednesday, and al-Shabab fighters killed nearly 40 people on Tuesday in a suicide bombing at a Mogadishu hotel.

President’s appeal

Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Somali president, used the recent burst of fighting to appeal for more international aid for his embattled government, which controls just a few blocks of territory in Mogadishu.

“It is quite impractical to expect Somalia alone to contain the evil al-Qaeda [and] al-Shabab alliance, as Somalia is emerging from 20 years of destruction and a chaotic political environment,” he said in a statement.

Fighting between al-Shabab and government forces has also been seen in Mogadishu’s Hodan neighbourhood.

Six civilians were killed there over the weekend, when al-Shabab fighters attacked a government barracks. The TFG says it retook the area on Sunday.

“Our forces have regained control of a key position that was captured by the anti-peace forces for a day,” said Abdullahi Hassan Bariise, a spokesman for the Somali police.

A spokesman for al-Shabab, however, claimed that ten Somali troops were killed in fighting in Hodan.

Al-Shabab vows 'massive' Somali war

Ref:Al-Shabab fighters have attacked a hotel in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, killing at least 35 people, a day after declaring a massive war.

Members of al-Shabab, disguised as government security forces, launched the attack on Tuesday at the Muna Hotel, which is known to host many Somali government officials and politicians.

Eight parliamentarians were killed in the attack.

“It happened when two suicide bombers detonated themselves,” Abdirahman Yariisow, Somalia’s information minister, who was at the hotel, told Al Jazeera.

“The security was there, but for some reason, they managed their way in and started shooting. No one was expecting this kind of atrocity.

“This shows how al-Shabab is brutal; they never respected our call [to stop the fighting] for the holy month of Ramadan.”

‘Final war’

The attack came after al-Shabab fighters declared a “massive, final” war against what they called “invaders” and attacked army barracks in several districts of Mogadishu on Monday.

Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage, al-Shabab’s spokesman, then said fighters were starting a new war against “invaders”, an apparent reference to the 6,000 African Union troops deployed in the country to support government forces.

At least 40 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the violence that followed, medics and witnesses said.

There was an overnight lull before the fighting resumed on Tuesday morning.

The fighting came days after hundreds of Ugandan troops began arriving in the Somali capital to strengthen the current AU peacekeeping force.

“As long as these [AU] forces are in Mogadishu, I think it will be unlikely for al-Shabab to take over [the city]. But they can inflict huge damage,” Dr Afyare Abdi Elmi, a professor of International Affairs at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera.

Ugandan reinforcements

Uganda said last month that it was willing to send 1,200 troops to Somalia, in addition to the 6,000 strong AMISOM mission sent by African Union countries.

“The additional troops began arriving last Friday. They were airlifted to different areas and of course they will continue to arrive,” Wafula Wamunyinyi, the AU deputy special representative for Somalia, said on Monday.

Al-Shabab, which has been fighting Somalia’s UN-backed government since the start of 2007, recently claimed responsibility for a twin bombing attack in Uganda, which killed more than 70 people who were watching the World Cup.

The group has said that it will continue to undertake strikes in Uganda and Burundi, in east-central Africa, as long as those countries provide troops for the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.

Somalia has not had an effective central government for nearly 20 years and al-Shabab controls significant portions of the country.

The US and other countries say al-Shabab is linked to al-Qaeda and consider the group a terrorist organisation.

More than 21,000 Somalis have been killed in fighting since the start of the uprising, 1.5 million have been uprooted from their homes and nearly half a million are sheltering in other countries in the region.

“Civil wars end either through military victory or through a negotiated settlement,” Dr Abdi Elmi said.

“In Somalia, at least for the short term, neither is likely to happen … the goals of the opposing forces cannot be reconciled now,” he said.

“In the long run, building effective Somali security forces and functioning state is the answer.”

Al-Shabab threatens AU peacekeepers

The armed group leading the fight against Somalia’s beleagured transitional government has warned that it will turn Mogadishu into a “graveyard” for extra African Union troops sent to the country.

Al-Shabab, which has been accused of links to al-Qaeda, warned that a decision earlier this week to send extra troops to the Horn of Africa nation would only strengthen their resolve to overthrow the government.

“The extra troops they said are planning to send here will not be different from those they deployed before. By the will of Allah, Mogadishu will be their graveyard, while their families will cry back home,” Ali Mahamud Rage, the group’s spokesman, said on Thursday.

“(Somalia transitional) government initially failed to convince its infidel masters to boost their military presence in Somalia, and now that they are claiming to be sending more troops to Mogadishu, it will only intensify the holy war against them,” he said.

The African Union held a three-day summit in Kampala earlier this week where it agreed to boost its peacekeeping force by sending another 4,000 troops, saying it was important to improve security in Somalia and in surrounding countries.

Broadening reach

The decision came after al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a double bombing in Kampala that left 76 people dead on July 11, which it said was punishment for Uganda’s lead role in the peacekeeping force.

The attack, the first launched by al-Shabab outside of Somalia, demonstrated the group’s increasing influence and broadening reach ahead of the AU summit.

The current 6000-strong AU force in Somalia has been engaged in fierce fighting with al-Shabab, but has been restricted to retaliatory fire by the mandate it has been operating under.

Human rights groups warn that if the troops are allowed to expand their operations, civilians in Somalia will be further exposed to violence. Thousands have been killed in crossfire this year alone as battles between government troops and al-Shabab fighters have raged in the streets of Mogadishu.

Somalia has been wracked by conflict for decades, with the latest bout of fighting erupting after Ethiopean troops, operating with US approval, invaded and overthrew the Union of Islamic Courts, whose rule had brought a period of relative stability to the troubled country.

Al-Shabab attacks Kenyan patrol

Ref:Kenyan security forces on the border with Somalia have clashed with suspected members of the al-Shabab group, officials and residents said.


Wilson Murungi, the commissioner of Lagdera, said al-Shabab fighters ambushed a Kenyan border patrol and wounded one officer. Read more →