Somalia militant group Al-Shabab killed at least 15 people in a suicide car bombing targeting military officials on Sunday, as the Al-Qaeda affiliate rejected the president’s offer of an amnesty.
Two further attacks on Monday signaled that the militants are ramping up violence following a declaration of war on Al-Shabab by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on Thursday.
Police Capt. Osman Mohamed said the Sunday attack was an attempt to assassinate the new Somali military chief, Gen. Ahmed Mohamed Jimale, as he left a ceremony at the defense ministry in the capital Mogadishu.
Jimale, who was appointed just three days ago by Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo in a major security shake-up, however, survived the attack but the explosion destroyed a minibus carrying civilians, soldiers and private security guards.
President Farmajo last week said that militants had a 60-day period to take up a government amnesty offer, but the militant group dismissed the declaration as a statement made “just to please the West.”
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“When we arrived at the scene, we counted bodies of 15 people, most of them were severed,” Mire Aden, a local police chief, told Al Jazeera.
“A number of soldiers are among the dead,” he said. None of the civilians had survived, Aden adds.
Armed group Al-Shabab, which has been carrying out frequent attacks aimed at overthrowing the country’s internationally recognised government, has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Al-Shabab has also launched attacks in neighboring countries in East Africa, particularly Kenya, which invaded Somalia in 2011 in an unsuccessful bid to destroy the group.
The extremist group frequently attacks military and government targets, but also kills civilians and kidnaps aid workers.