Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein (right), during a prior press conference in Mogadishu.
One day after a vicious exchange of mortar fire in Mogadishu that killed more than 30 people, Shabaab threatened to carry the fight to the capitals of Burundi and Uganda, two countries that have provided the bulk of the African Union peacekeepers in the Somali capital. Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, the leader of Shabaab in Mogadishu, made the threat during the press conference in Mogadishu. From Shabelle:
“When every they, (the mercenary infidels) are often killed or inflicted casualties, they [take] revenge [on] the Somali people. If the war is in our motherland today, you will see more people weeping in Kampala and Bujumbura if Allah says. We expect that we shall replace the fighting to Kampala and Bujumbura and further areas,” Sheik Ali Mohamed said.
Before the threats are dismissed as idle, remember that al Qaeda successfully carried out terror attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Three of the al Qaeda operatives who participated in the attack have since sought shelter with Shabaab. Abu Talha al Sudani and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan have since been killed, while Fazul Abdullah Mohammad, who is considered the most dangerous of the three, is still at large.
Another disturbing aspect about Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein’s declaration is that Shabaab’s leaders are still able to call an open press conference in Mogadishu, without fear of being targeted. It highlights the measure of control Shabaab maintains in Somalia’s capital.
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