Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab warned Britain against sending troops to the East African country, saying its fighters would kill them and drag their bodies along the streets, as happened to U.S. soldiers in the capital about 20 years ago.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said last month as many as 70 personnel would be deployed in Somalia to provide engineering, training and logistical support for African Union efforts to counter the militant threat.
“The time when a mob will drag the corpses of U.K. soldiers through the streets has come and others will face punishment including decapitation,” al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rageh said Wednesday in comments aired by Radio Andalus, a broadcaster that supports the insurgents.
Al-Shabaab is trying to overthrow the Western-backed government in Somalia and establish a strict version of Islamic law. The group still carries out frequent gun and grenade attacks even after losing control of large chunks of territory to government troops backed by African Union forces.
In 1993, 18 American military personnel were killed in the capital, Mogadishu, in an ill-fated U.S. helicopter mission during an international humanitarian effort.
In the group’s latest attack, the nephew of Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was killed in a drive-by shooting by al-Shabaab gunmen in southern Mogadishu, a friend of the family, Mahad Hassan, said on Wednesday. Gunmen shot dead Liban Osman Elmi, a doctor, and another man, lawyer Abdulkadir Mohamed Yabarow, as they were traveling in a vehicle in the city, police officer Omar Hassan said.
Also on Wednesday, the African Union appointed Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, a former lawmaker in Mozambique and a diplomat with experience in peace negotiations, as head of its mission in Somalia, replacing Maman Sambo Sidikou from Niger. The AU has more than 22,000 security personnel in the Horn of African nation.