Mortars fired at Somali president

At least five people killed after fighters attack airport during Sharif Ahmed's arrival.

    Al-Shabab fired mortars at the airport last week during the president's departure [AFP]
     

    Somalia's capital sees near-daily bloodshed as anti-government fighters with suspected links to al-Qaeda try to overthrow the fragile government and push out 5,000 African Union peacekeepers.

    Al-Qaeda presence

    Somalia's prime minister, in the UK, on Wednesday said al-Qaeda was using Somalia to train, regroup and plan furhter attacks across the region.

    "Somalia has now clearly become a haven for the pariah that is al-Qaeda," Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke said in a speech in London.

    "We cannot be certain of the precise size of their presence in our country, but al-Qaeda are here, they are training and planning in our land.

    "Somalia is serving as an ideal place for them to re-group and redeploy."

    Al-Shabaab and allied fighters control large parts of southern and central Somalia, and Sharmarke said defeating them was important not only to his country but "to the whole world".

    "Somalia does risk being taken over by al-Qaeda, just as Afghanistan was the haven of al-Qaeda in the 1990s," he told the Royal Institute of International Affairs think-tank at Chatham House in London.

    Sharmarke is part of a Western-backed transitional government headed by Ahmed that took over earlier this year, but has faced a renewed campaign by al-Shabab.

    "An insurgency needs chaos, discontent and poverty and we must take that away," Sharmarke said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.