US President Barack Obama said he will “redouble” his efforts against al-Shabaab
July 17 2010
US President Barack Obama has said Washington will “redouble” its efforts against the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab, whose deadly bombings in Kampala last Sunday are likely to result in stepped-up US military and other assistance to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu.
In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation this week, Obama suggested that the group represents a growing threat to the region.
“What we know is that if al-Shabaab takes more and more control within Somalia, then it is going to be exporting violence the way it just did in Uganda,” he said. “And so we’ve got to have a multinational effort. This is not something that the United States should do alone, that Uganda or others should do alone, but rather the African Union (AU), in its mission in Somalia, working with the TFG to try to stabilise the situation and start putting that country on a path that provides opportunity for people, as opposed to creating a breeding ground for terrorism,” Obama said.
Sunday’s twin bombings at a popular Ethiopian restaurant and across the city, at a rugby field where hundreds of spectators were watching the World Cup final in Johannesburg, killed a total of 76 people.
The al-Shabaab, which government officials in Washington describe as increasingly tied to al Qaeda’s global agenda, took responsibility for the bombings, saying that Uganda was targeted due to its contribution of troops to the AU’s 6,000-man peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
“We are sending a message to every country who is willing to send troops to Somalia that they will face attacks on their territory,” said al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rage on Monday.
He added that Burundi, the second-largest troop contributor to AMISOM after Uganda, “will face similar attacks, if they don’t withdraw.”