Somalia’s government has promised support for victims of the twin bombings in the capital Saturday that killed at least 100 people and injured close to 300 others. Saturday’s attack by al-Shabab comes as security forces have been waging a large-scale offensive against the militants.
Following an emergency Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Hamza Barre said his government will contribute one million dollars to offset the medical bills for victims of the Saturday twin bombings and support families affected.
The government said it will also cover education costs for children whose parents and dependents were affected in the attacks.
Barre also said the government will double down on the offensive against al-Shabab to avenge the lives lost.
“We pledge that we will get revenge for the Somali people and the final decision is to liberate the country from terrorists. So, as we go through pain, I urge Somalis to show patience, stability and resilience for casualties of the ongoing war. We hope in the shortest time to see our country free of explosions, killings and to have freedom of movement in our country,” he said.
The twin bombings came as the Somali National Army, with the backing of clan militias, continue a campaign against al-Shabab in central Somalia.
Rashid Abdi, a security and political analyst from Sahan, a research think tank in Nairobi, says the attacks were a message from al-Shabab to Somalis who are supporting the government offensives.
“Al-Shabab, you know, is using this kind of urban terror, first of all, to intimidate and create fear. Because remember, if they conduct this kind of attacks, frequently, people will begin to tell the government, you need to review your strategy. So, this is a way of creating public fear and anxiety and pressure on the government to stop the military campaign,” he said.
But Rashid predicts the attacks will galvanize more Somalis to join the war and ensure al-Shabab is defeated.
He says al-Shabab is also trying to show it still has power despite recent reversals.
“Their back essentially is to the wall,” he said. “More territory has been taken from al-Shabab’s hands in the last four months than in the whole of the last five years. The al-Shabab finances and economic power is being dismantled. So, I think this is an indication that al-Shabab is actually very desperate and wants to show the adversary and the government in particular that it still has the capacity and the will to conduct these sorts of bombs.”
On Sunday, the Somali government said that 100 al-Shabab fighters and leaders had been killed by government forces in the Middle Shabelle region.
Saturday’s bombings in Mogadishu took place near an intersection where another bombing five years ago killed nearly 600 people. That bombing, widely blamed on al-Shabab, is still the deadliest terrorist attack in African history.