Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed earlier this week to step up the military offensive against al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked jihadist group that has been waging an insurgency against the government for 15 years.
Mohamud warned citizens to “stay away from locations where al-Shabab is present.” The group controls large swathes of Somalian territory.
Last month, after the organization staged a 30-hour siege on a hotel in the capital Mogadishu, killing 30 people and injuring 120, Mohamud promised an “all-out war” against the group.
“Al-Shabaab will be confronted using every method that war allows – they will be bombed, raided and subjected to airborne attacks, so stay away from them,” he said in a speech following a high-level political conference in Mogadishu.
“Every Shabab member is a target, every Shabab army is a target – just the same way they are targeting and killing the Somali people.”
The president also urged citizens to avoid settling disputes using the so-called shadow courts operated by al-Shabab. “Don’t die in al-Shabab’s war when you are not one of them,” he said.