Somali rebels linked to al Qaeda are planning more suicide car bomb attacks against the government and African Union peacekeepers using vehicles including ambulances, Somali police said.
Twin suicide car bombs struck the headquarters of the AU mission AMISOM in Mogadishu in an audacious attack last month by al Shabaab insurgents. Seventeen peacekeepers were killed, including the Burundian deputy commander of the force.
Al Shabaab, which Washington says is al Qaeda’s proxy in the failed Horn of Africa state, and Somalia’s other main rebel movement, Hizbul Islam, have threatened more suicide attacks.
“We have information that the opposition groups are planning to use ambulances, police vehicles and tankers for suicide attacks on the government and AMISOM bases,” police spokesperson Abdullahi Hassan Barise told a news conference in Mogadishu.
“We will inspect all cars to prevent those attacks.”
Fighting in Somalia has killed 19 000 civilians since the start of 2007 and driven another 1.5 million from their homes.
Clashes between al Shabaab and Hizbul fighters in the south last week appeared to have given President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s UN-backed administration some much-needed breathing space.
But earlier this week the rebel groups said they had agreed a truce, would resolve all future disputes through dialogue and sharia law, and that they would continue their attacks together against the government and AU peacekeepers.
Pic: AU Peacekeepers