We will mourn but will not cry, says Somalia official after Al-Shabaab attack
The government of Somalia with assistance from foreign troops and the local militia has pledged to continue with the crackdown against Al-Shabaab militants, with the group organizing a series of retaliatory attacks in Beledweyne city in central Somalia.
Reports from the government indicate that over 40 people died following multiple bomb explosions unleashed by Al-Shabaab, leaving dozens of others critically injured in the Monday morning attack. Witnesses said two vehicles loaded with explosives detonated in the morning, and a third in the afternoon.
The attack came amid mobilization against the militants which has seen several people take arms against the group which controls huge swathes of rural central and southern Somalia. The operations led to the liberation of various strategic towns in the country.
Hussein Jimale, the Beledweyne province Police Commissioner confirmed the deaths, adding that Al-Shabaab planned the attacks. According to him, the militants targeted civilians, soldiers, and top government officials.
Jimale added that rescue operations were still in progress, working to find injured people who are trapped as well as to recover bodies. “We mourn but we do not cry,” he said in Somali, “and we will take revenge against al-Shabab.”
The United States, the United Nations, and other stakeholders have condemned the attack while pledging the country's support against the terrorists. It's the first organized Al-Shabaab attack amid an ongoing crackdown against the militants who control most parts of Southern Somalia.
Recently, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said those against the crackdown will be considered enemies of Somalia while insisting that "you're either with us or with them [Al-Shabaab]". The president has been candid against the militants.
Two of the bomb attacks struck the Lama Galaay military base, which hosts the offices of the regional president and several local government officials.
One car bomb detonated near the entrance gate, then witnesses said a truck rushed toward the headquarters building and exploded. The third car bomb exploded while heading to the same target.
The United States military on Monday announced the death of Abdullahi Nadir, a co-founder of Al-Shabaab, who had a $3 million bounty on his death. The US Africa Command said the senior terrorist was killed in the outskirts of Jilib town, which is considered an Al-Shabaab headquarter.