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US warns of possible attacks on 'multiple locations' in Mogadishu

By Harun Maruf
Tuesday April 9, 2024

A Somali soldier secures the area after a car bomb attack at a Presidential Palace checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP File Photo)

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi says it has received information about threats to multiple locations in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

One of the locations identified as a possible target for the threat is the city’s main airport, the Aden Adde International Airport, which also serves as a base for the African Union mission in Somalia and multiple embassies, including the United States and other Western countries.

“All movements of U.S. Embassy personnel have been canceled for Tuesday, April 9, 2024,” the security alert said. The alert added, “The U.S. Department of State level-four travel advisory (“do not travel”) for Somalia remains in effect due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.”

U.S. citizens have been urged to take several measures including reviewing their personal security plans and avoiding large crowds, gatherings and demonstrations, among other steps, to ensure their safety.

The United States did not specify where the threat is coming from, but the al-Shabab militant group has been carrying out attacks against the Somali government, African Union forces and other nations supporting Somalia.

One of the installations that al-Shabab penetrated multiple times in the past has been the airport in Mogadishu. In March 2022, al-Shabab gunmen managed to enter a section of the airport, killing a number of people including foreigners.

In February 2016, an al-Shabab member carrying a laptop bomb boarded a flight and attempted to bring it down. He was the only one killed after the explosion ejected him from the plane during the flight.

Meanwhile, the Somali government Monday said that an airstrike killed more than 50 al-Shabab militants near the town of Harardhere in Galmudug state. The state-controlled Somali National News Agency said the operation was conducted in collaboration with “international partners.”

VOA has not independently verified the casualty figure given by the government.

The development comes as Somalia prepares for the withdrawal of troops from the African Union Transition Mission, or ATMIS, by the end of this year.

And as the ATMIS drawdown continues, the Somali government has requested that the AU lead a multinational force that will replace the current ATMIS mission. The new multinational mission will operate in Somalia for one year from January 2025.

In a statement, the AU Peace and Security Council said it welcomes the proposal by the federal government of Somalia for a post-ATMIS security arrangement in Somalia.

Somali officials declined to give further details about the composition of the troops and which countries will be contributing. But in an interview with VOA Somali in February, the national security adviser to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Hussein Sheikh-Ali, said the mission will consist of "lean multinational forces" tasked with protecting key areas and infrastructure.


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