Somalia Jihad Update. “Death toll rises after attacks in Somalia,” by Rob Crilly for the Irish Times, September 25:
SOMALIA: Islamist insurgents have launched a series of deadly attacks on African peacekeepers in the Somali capital as they made good on their promise of increased bloodshed during the holy month of Ramadan.
Witnesses said at least 11 civilians were killed after gunmen attacked an African Union (AU) base on Tuesday. Peacekeepers responded with tank and artillery fire.
In all, some 42 people are believed to have died during a fresh round of violence in Mogadishu this week as peacekeepers find themselves targeted by Islamist groups which are growing in confidence.
The Mujahideens of Raskamboni said it was responsible for the attack. “It was a retaliatory attack against the African forces and it was the heaviest ever waged against them,” the group’s spokesman said.
Analysts believe it is an attempt to deter any further international interference in Somalia, where 3,000 African troops have struggled to make any difference so far.
It has made for a bloody month, even by Somalia’s warped standards. Fartun Moalim Yusuf, whose sister was among the fatalities, said: “It was a horrible moment. We escaped from our house to hide in a concrete building nearby but unfortunately that did not save her. She was torn to pieces with five other civilians.”
Insurgents have registered a string of recent successes against a feeble interim government and their Ethiopian backers. In recent weeks, they have changed tactics, replacing their usual hit-and-run strikes with sustained pressure.