Somalia: Al-Shabab avenge leader’s death

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African Union peacekeeping forces (Amison) killed civilians during a retaliatory attack on al-Shabab rebellion base. The Islamist group first launched an attack on the Amison base claiming the attacks were revenge for a US raid on Monday, before Amison counter-attacked with missiles, unfortunately killing civilians in the process.

“We have got our revenge for our brother Nabhan. Two suicide car bombs targeting the AU base, praise Allah,” al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage was reported as saying.

The Islamist rebels filled a UN vehicle with explosives and drove it into the African Union base. Amison soldiers at the gate had assumed the vehicles were on UN business and let them enter the base. When the cars entered, one of them sped toward a petrol depot and exploded. The other one exploded in a nearby area, eyewitness report claim.

A spokesman for the African union force, said that five government and AU officials were among those killed, including deputy commander Maj. Gen. Juvenal Niyonguruza, from Burundi. Force commander Gen Nathan Mugisha, from Uganda, was lightly wounded.

In retaliation, Amison fired Missiles towards Islamist-held parts of Mogadishu. A medical official told reporters that seven people died in the missile attacks.

Al-Shabab and its allies control most of southern and central Somalia, while the government, helped by the AU forces control parts of Mogadishu. On Thursday, al-Shabab demanded that AU forces be pulled out of Somalia.

Recent attacks such as the US attack on al-Shabab vehicle on September 14, has had little effect on the group’s capabilities and instead helped fuel extremism, instead of combating it, analysts have suggested.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991, leading to a complete breakdown of law and order both on land and in recent years in Somali waters. There are some 5,000 AU troops, mostly from Uganda and Burundi, in Mogadishu, protecting the weak, UN-backed transitional government.

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