Al Shabaab claims responsibility over Somalia attack


African Union troops

Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has said it carried out Sunday’s attack in Somalia’s southern city of Baidoa that killed at least 30 people.

A car bomb exploded outside a restaurant as people were watching the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal.

In a second explosion, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a busy junction.

This is the fourth major Al-Shabaab attack in Somalia since the beginning of the year.

It came on the same day as countries which contribute to the African Union force in Somalia, Amisom, pledged “to reinforce military operations in Somalia, to effectively counter threats from Al-Shabaab”.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday evening in response to the Baidoa attack, and Security Minister Abdirizak Mohamed Omar called for extra laws to help the government fight the militant group.

AU representative in Somalia Francisco Madeira condemned the attack saying he was “saddened by the loss of innocent lives through acts of terror committed by ruthless individuals who have no value for life”.

In addition to the 30 deaths, the attacks injured 60 people who are being treated in hospital, a local journalist told the BBC.

The leaders of the countries contributing troops to Amisom have called for an urgent review of their military response to Al-Shabaab, following weeks of sustained violence.

In addition to the weekend’s attacks, jihadi fighters have clashed with Amisom troops in different parts of the country, forcing the peacekeepers to withdraw from some areas.

Somalia’s allies now say more needs to be done to stem these attacks.

 

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