Tags: Somalia | Islamist | attack | unrest

Somali Islamists Furious After Attacks

Monday, 03 May 2010 10:21 AM

MOGADISHU – Somalia's Islamist Shebab militia threatened suicide attacks against the government and African peacekeepers Sunday after claiming one of its leaders was the target of a deadly attack on a mosque.

As medical sources and witnesses said the death toll from Saturday's twin explosions at a mosque in Mogadishu had risen to 32, the Al-Qaeda-inspired militia urged its followers to make "the necessary sacrifice" in response.

"The Muslim people of Somalia must fight the African Union troops of the occupying force using the means at their disposal, including suicide attacks," said Fu'ad Shongole, the Shebab's head of mobilisation.

"Go to their compounds and make all the necessary sacrifices to fight these invaders," he urged on Somalia Weyn radio.

The exact cause of Saturday's explosions that rocked a mosque in the Bakara market district of Mogadishu remains a mystery.

While the government has called it a "barbaric act", the Shebab has said that Shongole, who was in the building at the time, was the target.

"This was an act of terrorism carried out by mercenaries hired by the so-called government of Somalia," a spokesman for the group Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said.

The death toll from the twin explosions now stands at at least 32 and is likely to rise further, medical sources and a witness said Sunday.

Ali Muse head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, who earlier gave a toll of 25, told AFP that five people died of their injuries overnight.

"I think the number could rise even further since some of the injured are still in a critical condition," he said.

An additional two people died from their wounds overnight in a different part of town, according to Husein Yusuf, another Mogadishu resident.

Somalia's weak transitional government, which has little authority within Mogadishu despite the presence of African Union peacekeepers, condemned the blasts.

"This attack was one of the most barbaric acts ever in this country," Information Minister Dahir Mohamoud Gele told reporters Sunday.

"Somalia is not culturally known for targeting places of worship. We strongly condemn this attack which killed many civilians," he said.

"This kind of tactic is new and is brought from outside the country."

Explosions are common in Mogadishu but Saturday's incident was the worst since a suicide bombing in a hotel in December killed 57 people, including several government ministers.

The December attack sparked widespread international condemnation as it targeted a graduation ceremony for medical students. The Shebab denied responsibility for that attack but were widely belived to be behind it.

The Shebab, whose leadership has proclaimed allegiance to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, has been fighting the fragile government and its African Union allies alongside Hezb al-Islam, a smaller Islamist outfit.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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MOGADISHU – Somalia's Islamist Shebab militia threatened suicide attacks against the government and African peacekeepers Sunday after claiming one of its leaders was the target of a deadly attack on a mosque.
Somalia,Islamist,attack,unrest
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2010-21-03
Monday, 03 May 2010 10:21 AM
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