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Somalia: Al-Shabab Claims Responsibility for Deadly Bombing in Somali Capital

Tuesday 31 December 2019, by siawi3


Al-Shabab Claims Responsibility for Deadly Bombing in Somali Capital

By Harun Maruf

Updated December 30, 2019 03:59 PM

Photo: A general view shows the scene of a car bomb explosion at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia December 28, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal…

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s truck bomb attack in Mogadishu, which killed at least 80 people and wounded 78 others.

The official spokesman for the group, Ali Mohamud Rageh, known as Ali Dhere, made the statement via the group’s official station, Radio Andalus.

Ali Dhere said the group’s target was a Turkish convoy and security forces at the city’s busy Ex-Control junction.

“On Saturday, the Mujahedeen executed an attack at Ex-Control, targeting an enemy Turkish convoy and the militias who were guarding them,” he said. “It hit the convoy and inflicted heavy losses on the Turks and the apostate militias who were protecting them.”

The al-Shabab spokesman admitted civilians were killed in the explosion. While he said he regretted the loss of civilian lives, he also justified it, saying, “Protecting religion comes before saving a life.”

Two Turkish engineers working on a road construction project were among those killed in the attack. Ali Dhere has accused Turkey of training Somali forces and for “taking over economic resources” in Somalia.

Turkey has been training the Somali army at a modern training facility in Mogadishu inaugurated in September 2017. Turkey has also implemented development projects in Somalia, including rebuilding roads, buildings and hospitals.

Foreign country

Earlier, Somalia’s national intelligence agency accused an unidentified foreign country of planning the deadly truck bombing.

Photos: Medical personnel carry a wounded person to be airlifted to the Turkish capital for treatment after they were injured in…
People escort a person on a hospital bed to be airlifted to Turkey for treatment after Saturday’s truck bomb blast in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 29, 2019.

“We have submitted to the national leaders a preliminary report indicating that the massacre against the Somali people in Mogadishu on 28 December 2019 was planned by a foreign country,” the National Intelligence and Security Agency of Somalia (NISA) said in a tweet Monday. “To complete the ongoing investigation we will seek cooperation from some of the international intelligence agencies.”

NISA did not identify the country it accuses of involvement in the bombing, nor did it provide evidence backing up the claim.

The allegation appears to contradict earlier statements by the leaders of the federal government of Somalia. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on Saturday blamed al-Shabab, saying the militant group was bent on killing civilians and children.

“(Al-)Shabab don’t build, they destroy,” he said. “They don’t build schools, they don’t build health centers, they don’t feed children. They are contracted on preventing progress and killing the people and children of Somalia.”

Opposition politicians accused NISA of “misleading the public” with the latest accusation. Abdirahman Abdishakur of Wadajir Party wrote: “For the NISA to claim that a foreign country was behind the ex-control Afgoye attack... doesn’t only mislead the public & cover up the agency’s failure, but it also diverts blame from the terrorist. This is a clear cooperation” with al-Shabab.

Analyst Abdirashid Khalif Hashi said the government should not simply tweet out such an allegation without providing more information.

NISA will have to give detailed information,” he said. “This is a big news, the national leaders the president, the prime minister, the minister of national security; the parliament should hold a press conference and speak if other countries were behind this.”

VOA Somali could not reach the Ministry of Security, which supervises the agency.

Death toll

General Zakia Hussein, the deputy commander of police, told VOA Somali that the death toll stands at 80, but officials expect the final toll will be higher. On Sunday, a committee tasked with the support and recovery of the victims reported 22 people are still missing; 178 others were injured in the attack at the busy Ex-Control junction.

A woman who was among 16 victims airlifted to Turkey for medical treatment on Sunday died shortly after arriving in Ankara, according to Hussein. On Monday, Qatar also sent a military plane to evacuate 22 badly wounded victims to Doha.

Map of Mogadishu, Somalia, showing the site of the explosion on 12/28/2019

Somali leaders applauded the two countries for sending medical equipment and airlifting those who could not be treated in the country.

Meanwhile, the United States conducted three new airstrikes in Somalia in apparent response to the bombing in Mogadishu. Two of the strikes killed two militants and destroyed two vehicles in Kunyo Barrow town. The third strike killed two militants in Aliyow Barrow village. Both locations are in Lower Shabelle region.

Security sources told VOA Somali that the individuals targeted were senior al-Shabab figures. This brings the number of airstrikes in Somalia this year to 63.

Sahra Abdi Ahmed contributed to this report.



US air strikes target al-Shabaab after Mogadishu bombing

American military says four ‘terrorists’ killed in operation carried out in coordination with Somali government

Staff and agencies

Mon 30 Dec 2019 02.50 GMT
Last modified on Mon 30 Dec 2019 10.43 GMT

Wreckage after the Mogadishu bombing in which at least 79 people died. Photograph: Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

The US military has said it carried out airstrikes in Somalia that killed four “terrorists” of the al-Shabaab militant group following the deaths of at least 79 people in a car bombing in Mogadishu.

“In coordination with the federal government of Somalia, US Africa Command [Africom] conducted three airstrikes in two locations targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow and Caliyoow Barrow, Somalia, respectively, December 29,” Africom said in a statement.

The strikes came one day after Somalia’s deadliest attack in two years.

Read more: Truck bomb kills scores including many students in Mogadishu

US strikes in Somalia surged after Donald Trump declared the south of the country an “area of active hostilities”.

The rate of air strikes has risen sharply this year, and in an April statement Africom said it had killed more than 800 people in 110 air strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

Saturday’s attack in Mogadishu has not been claimed but the city is regularly hit by car bombings and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants allied to al-Qaida. Al-Shabaab was forced out of the Somali capital in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside.

With Agence France-Presse