Somalia: New army chief survives bombing that kills at least 17
Somalia’s new military chief has survived a suspected Al-Shabaab car bomb attack that killed at least 17 people on Sunday.
General Mohamed Ahmed Jimale, who was recently appointed as the country’s new chief of defence forces, was travelling with senior military officials when the bomb detonated near the defence ministry compound in Mogadishu. This came days after Somalia’s president appointed Jimale and promised a new offensive against militant group Al-Shabaab.
At least 17 killed in blast
Somalia’s army chief may have survived the car bomb attack but 17 are confirmed dead and the death toll could rise as a civilian minibus was caught in the blast, severely injuring passengers. The bomber allegedly tried to ram into a convoy carrying Jimale but missed and drove into a minibus carrying civilians, police said.
Police Capt. Osman Mohamed said the attack was clearly an attempt to assassinate the newly appointed army chief, although he managed to escape unharmed.
Previous to Sunday’s attack, at least 19 passengers were killed in a landmine explosion on Thursday that struck their minibus, just hours after President Mohamed instructed Somalia’s army to step up their offensive against Al-Shabaab.
On Wednesday, a car bomb explosion killed at least seven people at a restaurant in the capital.
A new offensive
President Mohamed, who was elected as Somalia’s new leader in February, promised to bring a harder fight to Al-Shabaab during his campaign. Dressed in military uniform, the Somali-American president declared Somalia a war zone on Thursday as he announced a new offensive against the militant group.
Mohamed’s military shakeup followed new from the Trump administration that the US will be more heavily involved in the war against Al-Shabaab, including an increase in airstrikes in southern Somalia.
Al-Shabaab condemns the Somali government for its ties to the US, which have only been increased by the appointment of Mohamed as president. The militant group wants to overthrow the US-backed government and turn Somalia into a strict Islamist state.
Featured image: By Unknown – Unknown, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11854957