Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has ordered police and intelligence agents to immediately intensify security “a hundred percent” in the capital of Mogadishu after attacks by Al-Shabab killed nearly 40 people on Friday.
Friday’s attacks were the first by Al-Shabab in the capital since October when a truck bomb killed more than 500, and an attack on a hotel two weeks later claimed the lives of at another 30 people.
“Security is the utmost priority,” Khaire said. “We will not tolerate the killing of our people. We will not be demoralized by one or two explosions. It’s important you end insecurity in Mogadishu.”
Last year, the government formed the Mogadishu Security and Stabilization Forces, who were instructed to raid homes suspected of being hiding places for militants and to erect checkpoints without warning.
But the effort had several setbacks, including the deadly truck bombing and the firing of two security chiefs in the aftermath of the bombing. There were also incidents where security forces working with the stabilization force clashed after mistaking each other for Al-Shabab.
Khaire warned the security forces to avoid such mistakes. “You must avoid every step that could lead to internal fights between yourselves,” he said. “We do not have any more time for an enemy among us who is dressed to take the lives of Somali people. You must be watchful every night.”
Khaire echoed the need to win public support and has urged the soldiers to show compassion.
“When you enter their homes, be courteous,” he said. “When you speak to them in the streets, show good conduct and discipline. Don’t be kind to the enemy, but be compassionate to the people.”