Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents said they will strike Burundi and Uganda capitals, in retaliation for rocket attacks by peacekeepers from the two countries, which killed at least 30 people in Mogadishu.“We shall make their people cry,” Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, al Shabaab’s self-styled governor of Banadir region, which includes Mogadishu, told reporters late on Thursday. “We shall attack Bujumbura and Kampala ... We will move our fighting to those two cities and we shall destroy them,” he said.Burundi and Uganda both have about 2,500 peacekeepers from the African Union’s AMISOM force within the Somali capital. Reuters witnesses said they fired at least 35 rockets into the capital’s Bakara market area on Thursday, after al Shabaab gunmen launched mortar shells at President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s plane as he left the airport for a summit in Uganda.The United States accuses the rebel group, which wants to topple Ahmed’s fragile UN-backed administration and impose its own strict version of Islamic law across the country, of being al Qaeda’s proxy in the failed Horn of Africa state.
AMISOM’s spokesman in Mogadishu, Major Barigye Ba-hoku, denied on Friday that the AU soldiers had fired any artillery and blamed Thursday’s civilian deaths on rebel bombings. “We did not shell any place ... We are investigating and the Somali government is investigating too,” Ba-hoku told Reuters.
“Al Shabaab wants to drag us into their war ... they shell us and then they also shell Bakara, then they tell people there it was AMISOM who killed civilians. We know their tactics,” he said.Fighting in Somalia has killed 19,000 civilians since the start of 2007 and driven another 1.5 million from their homes, triggering one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies. Western security agencies say the drought-ravaged nation has become a safe haven for militants, including foreign jihadists, who are using it to plot attacks across the region and beyond.
Civilian deaths disastrous
Speaking to Reuters in Kenya, Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke denounced the insurgents. “They are firing from Bakara and even mosques. They are using people there as human shields ... We regret what happened. It is never our intention to hurt our own people,” he said...more..http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/-/1066/676224/-/135nnrdz/-/