A bombing in Somalia by al-Shabab militants targeting foreign troops killed at least 12 people and injured more than 30, mostly civilians.
Shortly after Somali government troops arrived in the market area of the central Somali town of Baidoa, a bomb planted in a small basket exploded, killing mostly women and children, according to the local governor Abdifitah Mohamed Gesey.
The Islamist militant group al-Shabab took responsibility for the attack, which was the most deadly since Ethiopian troops took control of the area. “We targeted the Ethiopian and the Somali troops. About three of them died,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told the Reuters.
Al-Shabab claims to be fighting a guerrilla war against foreign troops. Increased intervention from a contested Somali government, encroaching African Union troops, and largely covert American action has bolstered their stature and prompted al-Qaeda to officially align with the previously weak group.
Not only have African Union soldiers been waging a war for control of the country, but the U.S. is giving weapons, intelligence, and legitimacy to thugs and murderous warlords in Somalia, some of whom used to be fighters for the very militants the U.S. now has them fighting against. The U.S. has also backed African Union troops and the Kenyan military in their fight against al-Shabab, while leading an international sanctions regime that is keeping the country in wrenching poverty.
“One can legitimately argue that … Somalia’s enduring ‘failed state’ existence has been because of international community involvement, the precise opposite of Cameron’s argument that it has been ignored,” said Hannah Waddilove, Africa analyst with security firm AKE, in February.
But even the Obama administration has quietly acknowledged the fact that their military involvement in Somalia may create more problems than it solves, with one administration official telling the Washington Post in December there is a “concern that a broader campaign could turn al-Shabab from a regional menace into an adversary determined to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.”