A wave of grenade attacks killed a child and wounded nine other people in the Somali capital, as Islamists rebels Wednesday warned Kenyan forces of “hellfire” if they did not pull out of the country.
The warning, from Sheikh Ali Mohammed Rage, spokesperson for al-Shabaab rebels, came a month after Kenyan troops crossed into southern Somalia.
“We are telling Kenya that they still have the opportunity to back away from the hellfire it was dragged into and leave our soil, otherwise they will continue suffering,” Rage said.
The al-Qaeda-linked fighters said they had fought back Kenyan troops on Tuesday during battles in southern Somalia’s Lower Juba region.
“Thanks to God, the mujahideen fighters have blocked the ambitions of the Christian invaders of Kenya, they are weakened and there is no more energy they have to attack us,” Rage told reporters.
Kenyan forces last month crossed into southern Somalia in an attempt to seize al-Shabaab strongholds, but after advancing some 120km inside its borders have struggled to advance further.
Officials have blamed the Al-Qaeda al-Shabaab rebels for the wave of grenade attacks in Mogadishu late Tuesday, although no group has claimed responsibility.
At least five attacks hit different parts of the city, said police.
It was a hand grenade thrown into a house as people watched a football match between England and Sweden that killed the boy.
“We are still confused about the meaning of this attack,” said Daud Hussein, the owner of the house in the Seypiano district of the city.
“We were simply watching football when the explosion hit the house, a young boy was killed and four others injured,” he said.
“Everybody was excited to be watching the game, and no one expected that such a horrible incident was about to happen,” Mohamed Black, a witness said.
“I’m lucky to survive but a friend of mine was among the injured.”
“The enemy wants to terrorise the civilians by sending gangs who throw hand grenades into civilian areas,” said Ibrahim Ahmed, a Somali police official.
“They have attacked at least five locations on Tuesday night…,” he added.
He confirmed that the attack on the Seypiano house, as well as killing the boy, had wounded four others.
Other grenade attacks had wounded three civilians and two policemen around Mogadishu, in the Black Sea, Al-Baraka and Suq Bacad areas of the city, he said.
Despite withdrawing from fixed positions in Mogadishu, the hard-line al-Shabaab militia have vowed to continue waging war against the Western-backed Somali government and the African Union troops protecting it.
Wracked by two decades of civil war, multiple governments have failed to bring stability to Somalia.
The United Nations declared famine earlier this year in several southern regions largely under al-Shabaab control. — AFP