Under siege for more than 4 years, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia is facing stepped up attacks from the designated terrorist organization Al Shabaab, which is attempting to seize control of the capital, Mogadishu. Dozens have died in more than a week of daily gunfire, mortar attacks and other violence.
Al Shabaab has killed indiscriminately claiming the lives of Somali civilians as well as lawmakers and African Union peace keeping troops supporting the Transitional government as it works to restore stability to the troubled land. Despite the viciousness of the attack and reports that the extremists were heavily reinforced, government troops, with the support of the AU peacekeepers have successfully defended their positions.
The extremists are dedicated to establishing a fundamentalist religious state in Somalia and have been bolstered by foreign fighters and taken control of large parts of Mogadishu and southern Somalia. Their vision for both Somalia and the larger region, however, stands in sharp contrast to the vision of the overwhelming majority of Africans. The bombings and killings during the holy month of Ramadan show they write their own rules when it comes to the observance of religious rituals.
The United States is saddened by the continued loss of life and is unrelenting in its support for those working to bring stability to Somalia. We will continue to partner with all those that oppose terrorism, extremism and violence in all forms. And we will continue to work very closely with those in Africa who are interested in ensuring that the region can realize its full potential and achieve prosperity for all Africans.