Somali militants linked to al Qaeda warned on Monday of further attacks in the capital, a day after killing at least 30 people in a wave of coordinated bombings and shootings that exposed the fragility of security gains in Mogadishu. African peacekeeping troops blocked off streets and searched houses across the city at dawn on Monday to flush out suspected members of the Islamist militant group al Shabaab which claimed responsibility for the strikes.
But the rebels warned of further attacks and taunted the Mogadishu government, which they brand a Western stooge, over its trouble securing the city at a time the country struggles to emerge from more than two decades of conflict and anarchy. Although a military offensive under an African Union peacekeeping banner has pushed al Shabaab from urban strongholds in central and southern Somalia, the attacks reinforce concerns the militants remain a potent force.
“Yesterday’s blasts eliminated the dreams of the puppet government. More lethal attacks are coming,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, told Reuters by telephone. At least one car bomb exploded and several suicide bombers blew themselves at Mogadishu’s law courts on Sunday. Gunmen stormed the court compound, spraying it with bullets. Two hours later, a car bomb was detonated near the city’s fortified airport.
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said the attack would not stop the government’s efforts to restore peace and security. He said there were several experienced foreign fighters among the attackers at the courts, showing that the fight against the militants was not just a Somali affair. “We are concerned about the foreign involvement in this attack and this is why we are working so hard with our international partners on security and intelligence sharing,” he said in a statement.