* Attack exposes fragile nature of security gains
* Militants waging guerrilla-style insurgency
* Somali government still dependent on African forces
(Recasts with al Shabaab threat, adds lawmaker)
By Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar
MOGADISHU, April 15 Somali militants linked to
al Qaeda warned on Monday of further attacks in the capital, a
day after killing at least 30 people in a wave of coordinated
bombings and shootings that exposed the fragility of security
gains in Mogadishu.
African peacekeeping troops blocked off streets and searched
houses across the city at dawn on Monday to flush out suspected
members of the Islamist militant group al Shabaab which claimed
responsibility for the strikes.
But the rebels warned of further attacks and taunted the
Mogadishu government, which they brand a Western stooge, over
its trouble securing the city at a time the country struggles to
emerge from more than two decades of conflict and anarchy.
Although a military offensive under an African Union
peacekeeping banner has pushed al Shabaab from urban strongholds
in central and southern Somalia, the attacks reinforce concerns
the militants remain a potent force.
"Yesterday's blasts eliminated the dreams of the puppet
government. More lethal attacks are coming," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu
Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, told
Reuters by telephone.
At least one car bomb exploded and several suicide bombers
blew themselves up in front of Mogadishu's law courts on Sunday.
Gunmen stormed the court compound, spraying it with bullets. Two
hours later, a car bomb was detonated near the city's fortified
The law courts were a symbolic target. Somalia's new
government has made reforming the judiciary a priority in its
campaign to shake off the country's "failed state" tag.
The scale of Sunday's attacks suggest the Islamist militants
remain well organised, enabling them to infiltrate the city from
which they were driven out two years ago and target vital
installations with apparent ease.
Western and Somali officials voice concerns that the
militants were seeking to rebuild their strength in the capital.
"It will be almost impossible to eliminate al Shabaab,"
lawmaker Mohamed Farah Jimale told Reuters. "They will regroup
and continue bombing."
Britain, which has a large Somali population and has warned
of threats to its own security from Somalia-trained militants,
had warned last week of an imminent attack in Mogadishu,
highlighting the international networks involved.
Somalia's finance minister said the attack reinforced the
government's call for more aid to pay and train its security
personnel as it seeks to rebuild the nation of 10 million
"It proves that we need the support of friendly countries to
help us in improving the security forces' capability in
Mogadishu and other areas," Mohamud Hassan Suleiman told
A more stable Somalia could help curb piracy, which has
flourished in the absence of an effective central government,
and would soothe worries that Somali Islamists could expand
territory they control which could be used as a training ground
for militants who could strike elsewhere.
(Additional reporting by Edmund Blair; Writing by Richard
Lough; Editing by Pravin Char)