Somalia offers al-Shabab 60 days to surrender

Published 07.04.2017 22:36

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ordered a new offensive against the al-Shabab militant group while offering the extremists a 60-day amnesty to surrender. He pledged a new war against the Shabaab ("youth" in Arabic), which has terrorized the nation for over a decade.

"I am announcing a state of war in the country and call on the public to stand with the national army to help fight terrorists," the president, widely known by his nickname Farmajo, said at a press conference.

Farmajo, who took office in February, on Thursday replaced the heads of the army, police and national intelligence.

"We are very sorry for those kids who have been misled, and we are offering the Shabab fighters an ultimatum of 60 days to surrender otherwise they will face the consequences," he said. "I also extend amnesty to the youth who have been misled with the wrong extremist ideas."

Farmajo's remarks came a day after a car bomb left seven dead in a restaurant in Mogadishu.

According to an AFP tally around 80 people have died in bomb attacks in the capital since January.

Al-Shabab emerged out of a bitter insurgency fighting Ethiopia, whose troops entered Somalia in a US-backed invasion in 2006 to topple the Islamic Courts Union that was then controlling Mogadishu. While they have lost large swathes of territory and were forced out of Mogadishu by African Union troops in 2011, al-Shabab continues to strike in the capital and countryside.

Meanwhile, at least three people belonging to the same family were killed and three others wounded when mortar shells landed on their home in Mogadishu Friday, a security official and witnesses said.

The shells struck the southern Mogadishu suburb of Danwadagta near a security checkpoint for the airport in the Somali capital.

"Three civilians died and three others were wounded after mortar shells hit their house," said security official Abdi Muhidin. "Two of the dead were a mother and her daughter and all of the victims belong to the same family," said witness Awale Yasin. The attack was the second this week in Mogadishu after a car bomb at a restaurant left seven dead on Wednesday.

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