- East Africa
- Conflicts - Terrorism
Uganda dares Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamists
Uganda has warned Islamist rebel group, al-Shabab, that it would regret any action of violence against Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Al-Shaba threatened to attack Uganda and Burundi for donating peacekeepers to Somalia.
"Those terrorists, I would advise them to concentrate on solving their problems. If they try to attack Uganda, then they will pay because we know how to attack those who attack us. Al-Shabab wants to drag us into their war, They shell us and then they also shell Bakara, then they tell people there it was Amisom [AU peacekeepers] who killed civilians," Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, told reporters.
AU peacekeepers largely made up of soldiers from Uganda and Burundi had carried out a retaliatory attack on al-Shabab on Wednesday, after the Islamist group attacked Mogadishu airport, in an attempt to kill Somalia’s UN-backed president Mr. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Over 20 civilians were killed in the process and al-Shabab said it would target Uganda and Burundi, to retaliate the death of the civilians.The civilians were killed as peacekeepers shelled insurgent strongholds in Mogadishu.
"We shall make their people cry. We will move our fighting to those two cities [Kampala and Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi] and we shall destroy them," al-Shabab commander Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein was quoted by reporters.
Somalia has struggled to build state civility since its creation in 1960 when the territories of the former British protectorate and an Italian colony merged. Plagued by conflict, Somalia has lacked an effective government since 1991. As a result, over 1.5 million Somalis are internally displaced and living in improvised camps, while hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country. Some three million people - half the population – are now in dire need of food aid.
President Ahmed implemented Sharia law in parts of Somalia where al-Shabab controls, but the al-Shabab group, which is accused of links to al-Qaeda, still regard the president as a Western puppet. The rebel group dominates much of southern and central Somalia, while President Ahmed’s UN-backed government runs only parts of the capital.