An explosion overnight at a house used by insurgents in the Somali capital killed at least 10 al-Shabab militants, including seven foreign fighters, the Somali Information Ministry said.
Two of the fighters were Indians, the first clear proof that Islamicist militants in Somalia are recruiting Indians.
The statement said the blast, in a southern Mogadishu neighbourhood, may have been caused by a premature car bomb explosion. Three Pakistanis, two Indians, an Afghan and an Algerian were among the dead, the statement said. The government cited ‘’security sources’’ as the basis for its information.
Apart from the government statement there was no other verification of the casualties or circumstances. Al-Shabab is Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, and officials say foreign fighters with experience in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts help train its troops. Al Shabab leaders, in their speeches, are known to have called on their fighters to “liberate” Afghanistan and Kashmir.
The US military has no presence in Somalia but US surveillance aircraft are known to patrol Somali skies.
‘’We heard explosions within minutes of each other ... but in the morning when we woke up no one could figure out the details because the whole neighbourhood was cordoned off by dozens of heavily armed al-Shabab militants,’’ Abdulahi Ibrahim, a Mogadishu resident, said of the latest explosion.
In a separate incident on Friday night a suspected insurgent died when a bomb he was trying to plant detonated, said a police spokesman.
Men are forced to grow beards. Women can’t leave home without a male relative. Music, movies and watching sports on TV are banned.
Somalia is looking more like Afghanistan under the Taliban with a hard-line Islamist militia that cows the public into submission.
Al-Shabab in Somalia and the Taliban in Afghanistan — their tactics increasingly mirror each other. Al-Shabab has gained control over large swaths of this arid Horn of Africa country.
In the latest adoption of tactics long used by the Afghan militants, al-Shabab is ordering households in southern Somalia to contribute a boy to the militants' ranks. Childless families have to pay al-Shabab $50 a month.
An al-Shabab commander attributed the shared tactics and ideology to the fact that both groups follow a strict form of Islam. ''One more thing we deeply share is the hatred of infidels,'' the commander, Abu Dayib, told AP.