Terrorists planning Somali attacks, government warns

British government warns terrorists in final stages of planning attacks in Mogadishu, following statement by Foreign Office

terrorists Somali attacks government warns

The Foreign Office’s website states that attacks in and around Mogadishu continue to be carried out by terrorist group al-Shabaab. Photograph: Feisal Omar/Reuters

guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 April 2013Terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, the British government has warned.

Concerns about a possible attack were highlighted in a statement issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which already advises against all travel to Somalia.

The Foreign Office’s website states that attacks in and around Mogadishu continue to be carried out by al-Shabaab, a terrorist group, and others opposed to the Somali government.

Attacks in the past have targeted government institutions, hotels, restaurants and public transport, including the international airport.

An FCO spokesperson said: “We have amended our travel advice for Somalia. Our advice makes clear that there continues to be a high threat from terrorism and that the FCO believes that terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks in Mogadishu. We advise against all travel to all parts of Somalia.”

“The safety of British nationals abroad is a major concern for the FCO. We therefore attach great importance to providing information about personal safety and security overseas, including an assessment of the level of threat from terrorism, to enable people to make informed decisions about travel.”

Security in Mogadishu has improved greatly since a military offensive drove Islamist rebels allied to al-Qaida out of the city in August 2011. But bombings and assassinations blamed on militants still occur often.

Last month, a suicide car bomber killed at least 10 people near Mogadishu’s presidential palace in an explosion that police said was aimed at a senior security official.

The attacker blew up his car while driving along a boulevard that runs between the palace and the national theatre.

In late September, al-Shabaab withdrew from the southern Indian Ocean port of Kismayu, its last major urban bastion in the east African state, signalling its demise as a quasi-conventional military force, but it pledged to step up a campaign of suicide bombings and hit-and-run attacks.

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Car bomb blast kills at least 7 in Somalia

Somalia Blast_Leff.jpg

March 18, 2013 – Somali men carry a seriously wounded man after a car bomb blast close to the Somali government’s headquarters in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)

SOURCEMOGADISHU, Somalia –  An explosives-laden car that apparently was targeting a truck full of Somali government officials instead hit a civilian car and exploded, setting a nearby mini-bus on fire and killing at least seven people Monday, police and witnesses said.

Flames and smoke rose over the explosion as emergency vehicles drove to the scene. The blast happened close to the Somali government’s headquarters.

Mohamed Abdi, a police officer who was injured in the blast, said it appeared that the target of the attack was a truck of Somali intelligence officials. Abdi Mohamud Aden, a Somali police captain, said at least seven people were killed and 10 wounded. He said that number could rise.

A journalist who was wounded in the blast while sitting in a nearby restaurant said several people inside the restaurant were injured.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab has continued to carry out terror attacks in Somalia’s capital since being pushed out of Mogadishu in late 2011. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast rattled buildings nearby, shattering glass windows. After the attack, soldiers fired in the air to try to open blocked streets so patients could get to hospitals. Inside Mogadishu’s Daru Shifa hospital, a wounded soldier cried out for aid as blood gushed from his badly wounded right leg.

“I was trying to cross the street when the blast went off,” he said. “Terrorists want to deprive us of peace,” he said, biting his lips in agony.

Shocked bystanders stared at the pools of blood on the ground at the blast site. One woman cried.

“They (al-Shabab) are the enemies of Somalia and Muslims,” she said. “They kill our children, elderly and everyone. They are brutal and inhumane and feed blood and terror with their minds.”

Al-Shabab controlled much of south-central Somalia, including Mogadishu, from 2006 to mid-2011, when African Union troops ousted the fighters from the capital. Since then al-Shabab has been on the run, as troops from Uganda, Burundi and Kenya have expanded areas under the control of the Somali government.

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