A cabinet minister in Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government says bomb blasts that killed scores of people at a mosque in the capital, Mogadishu, over the weekend are hallmarks of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization.
Speaking to Peter Clottey of VOA, Abdirahman Omar Osman sharply condemned the attacks saying President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed’s government is committed to defeating the various insurgent groups, including al-Shabab.
“The attacks that happened in the mosque (were) very tragic and it was a historic time in Mogadishu and in Somalia. It has all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda activities that happened in Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan. Therefore, as a government, we give our sympathy and blessings to people who died and people (who were) injured,” he said.
Insurgent groups like al-Shabab have been fighting almost daily with forces loyal to the government. The groups have vowed to overthrow President Sharif’s administration to implement the strictest form of the Sharia law.
But so far, no insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the weekend attacks. The attacks have reportedly killed at least 32 people with scores injured.
Cabinet minister Omar said the insecurity situation in Somalia is getting increasingly worse.
“This shows (our) great concern that we have been talking to the international community (about) for the last five years. And, Somalia is getting worse by the day in terms of extremism (and) all kinds of Al Qaeda activities happening in Somalia,” Omar said.
The hard-line insurgent group, al-Shabab, is threatening suicide attacks against the government and the African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) after claiming that one of its leaders was the target of the attacks.
But, Omar said the Somali administration will continue to repel insurgent attacks. “We as a government, we are very committed and we are determined to get rid of al-Shabab and extremisms in our country,” Omar said.
He also said President Sharif’s government needs international backing and resources in its drive to challenge and defeat the Islamic hard-liners who have vowed to overthrow the administration.