8 July 2010

Somalia: Al-Shabaab Urges Attacks on Diplomats

Photo: Wandera Ouma/Monitor
A distraught woman calls on her cellphone from the scene of one of the blasts. Ugandan police fear that Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group was behind the attacks.

Mogadishu — Al-Shabaab, the strongest radical Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia has invited Islamists everywhere to act against the diplomatic missions of Uganda and Burundi.

"We urge our brothers from Chechnya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and from anywhere around the world to attack the diplomatic missions of Uganda and Burundi," said Sheikh Abu Mansur, an Al-Shabaab leader.

The call came at a rally in Mogadishu by the group to seek public support. The event took place at Maslah Compound in the northern suburbs of the Somali capital.

According to Al-Shabaab officials, the rally was meant to demonstrate public support towards the movement's latest attacks on the positions held by the government forces and by the peacekeepers serving the African Union Mission in Somalia, Amisom.

Businesses in the western neighbourhoods of Mogadishu were closed for many people to join the rally. The place was completely secured by Al-Shabaab militants and the Islamist leaders who declared their rejection of the presence of the Amisom peacekeepers in Somalia.

Several battalions from Uganda and Burundi numbering 6,133 are in Mogadishu to protect vital government installations including the port, airport and Villa Somalia, the state house in the capital.

Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali Abu Mansur, the former spokesman of Al-Shabaab told the gathering that jihadists (holy warriors) were getting the upper hand in the battle fields in Mogadishu.

The sheikh stated that if government soldiers defected and joined Al-Shabaab they would enjoy guaranteed security.

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