MOGADISHU, Somalia – At least one person was killed in Somalia on Wednesday, reports show, after a massive explosion on the outskirts of Afgoye city, located 30 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu, the still bustling Somali capital that has been the center of al-Shabaab attacks in the recent years.
Police reports indicate that a grenade was thrown at a pet market on Wednesday by suspected Al-Shabaab militants, leading to the death of a person, in an incident that further questions the country’s preparedness in the fight against the militants who have wreaked havoc in Africa Horn in the last decade.
In addition, the bomb blast left four people seriously injured among them two civilians and two soldiers, with reports that security officials were guarding the city when the accident hit, according to several eyewitnesses who were at the scene when the incident took place. For several years now, al-Shabaab militants have targeted members of the security forces, senior officials, those believed to be spies for the administration and civilians, according to reports submitted to the UN Security Council, the highest-level body responsible for security in the world.
Police have not yet determined who the real targets were, but several sources indicate that the explosion was aimed at members of the Somali National Army. [SNA]. In the last few months, troops have been conducting operations targeting militants in central and southern Somalia.
The recent incident raises further doubts about the country’s ability to withstand frequent al-Shabaab attacks, which reached record highs.
There is pressure to have the Somali National Army [SNA] take care of the security situation in Somalia in the coming months when the troops of the African Union Mission formally leave the country. Recently, the SNA announced victory against the militants, arguing that they had lost ground in Lower Shabelle, a region that has struggled with the attacks in recent months.
The army said several militants had surrendered or killed in operations carried out in recent weeks with a blessing from the U.S. African command.
Al-Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the fragile UN-backed Somalia government, which has been in place for a few years. However, the militants, who still control large parts of southern and central Somalia in the countryside, have lost their backyard significantly after several successful operations.