In a statement released on Thursday, the African Union (AU) Commission, through it’s chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat, strongly condemned Wednesday’s terror attack against a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia that killed at least 31 with scores wounded.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman expressed the African Union’s heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and wished speedy recovery to those wounded. He reiterated the AU’s solidarity with the government and people of Somalia and its continued commitment to supporting the country in restoring peace and security.
The chairperson also stressed the need for renewed and enhanced support to the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia and Somali national security institutions as they combat the scourge of terrorism across the country.
Gunmen attacked two restaurants in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu on Wednesday night, killing at least 31 people and injuring over 40 others.
A suicide bomber drove a car loaded with explosives into the Posh restaurant in Hodan district and detonated it.
A group of gunmen then bombed the Pizza House, a restaurant near Posh, and clashed with security personnel. The two restaurants are frequented by government officials and young people.
Heavy gunfire could be heard inside the Pizza House where an unknown number of hostages were held, police said.
Somalia-based militia has claimed responsibility. The group has launched frequent attacks on targets including civilians and government institutions in the Horn of Africa country since the militants were forced out of Mogadishu by African Union (AU) troops in 2011.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed in April declared war against the extremists, offering amnesty to militants who surrendered within 60 days and warning the rest would “face the consequences.”
Somalia’s special forces destroyed a key militia command and supply hub on Sunday in the country’s southern regions.
“We have long suffered at the hands of …. which is supported by global terror networks. We and our international partners will take every possible precaution to protect our civilian population from harm during these operations while targeting terrorists,” the president said Sunday.
The U.S. military also confirmed its special forces killed eight militia fighters in an airstrike conducted in southern Somalia on Sunday.
In a statement, the U.S. Africa Command (Africom) vowed to intensify attacks against militants in order to protect people, saying the militants have taken advantage of the safe haven to kill and maim people.
According to Africom, militia has overrun three bases of the African Union Mission to Somalia, a peacekeeping mission operated by the AU, by amassing large numbers of fighters and attacking in overwhelming numbers in the last eight months. It said militia has also increased its combat capability by seizing heavy weaponry, armored vehicles, explosives, small arms, ammunition, and other miscellaneous supplies.
The terrorist group has cemented its control in southern and central Somalia and has used this area to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, and to shelter other radical terrorists.