Barrage of Mortars Hit UN Compound in Somalia

Image: AFP 2019

Six mortars were fired Saturday at the headquarters of the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission forces (AMISOM) in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, witnesses said.

The barrage of mortars hit several structures in the compound some minutes to eight in the evening, destroying properties. 

The UN compound, known as Camp Halane, is home to various Western diplomatic missions, including those of the United Kingdom and the United States. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a press statement Sunday, the ministry of information said Somalia and its partners conducted an airstrike Saturday night targeting Al-Shabab near Wasil town in Mudug region.

“This is another major blow to Al-Shabab’s means to wage war against the Somali people. The airstrike destroyed a large Al-Shabab firing position engaging Danab and SNA forces as they approached. These operations limit Al-Shabab’s ability to kill and terrorize the Somali people,” the ministry said.

In coordination with the Somali government, the US military command for Africa (Africom) regularly conducts airstrikes to support government forces operations against the terror group.   

For more than a month, Somali forces have been engaged in a long battle with the al-Qaida linked group Al-Shabab in Ba’adweyne, Galmudug federal state. 

Somali government forces have been involved in a ground offensive in the central regions since May to liberate more areas from the terror group and cut off its supply route.

The Somali forces have at least secured four districts and claim to have killed more than 150 Al-Shabab fighters.

Al-Shabab has increased its use of drones to conduct reconnaissance flyovers and document the operations of advancing Somali forces, according to a report released by the United Nations Security Council on July 21.

Some Somali sources told Horn Dispatch the Mogadishu government was ‘angered’ with the UN report.

Last month, a rift emerged between Somalia and troops contributing countries Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda after the horn of African nation rejected the proposal to transform the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which has been a combat force into a multidimensional force with a hybrid formation of African Union and United Nations. The plan will allow AMISOM troops to stay in Somalia until 2026. 

Since 2007, AMISOM has been stationed in Somalia. Burundi and Ugandan forces assisted in the liberation of Mogadishu from Al-Shabab in 2011. In the capital, the group continues to carry out attacks against civilians, government forces and African Union troops.