Mogadishu: mortars fired at Villa Somalia again


Villa Somalia, the Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu, at top left, has been fired upon by Al Shabaab rebels. The attacks have killed civilians and highlight the tenuous hold that the Somali government and the African Union forces have on Mogadishu.


Roberto Schmidt

NAIROBI, Kenya — Al Shabaab fired a series of mortars at Villa Somalia in Mogadishu late on Sunday night, targetting the seat of the shaky transitional government for the second time in less than a week.

But the mortars reportedly fell short, missing the government targets and landing instead in an informal camp close to Villa Somalia where thousands live in little dome-shaped huts made of bent sticks covered with rags. At least five people were killed, according to Reuters.

The dead reportedly included four members of a single family while others were injured by the explosions, according to the BBC.

This attack was clumsy though it's hard to tell whether that is down to carelessness or lack of skill with a mortar tube.

It underscores Al Shabaab's lack of concern for civilians, but also gives the lie to the government and African Union's claim to "control" almost the entire capital where suicide bombers still roam, IEDs are a near daily reality and insurgents can set up mortar positions unhindered.