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Somalia: Civil defense force seen after deadly attack

Every Somali citizen has to take a gun and fight al-Shabaab, president tells thousands at football stadium

Somalia’s president said the government is launching a civil defense force after Saturday’s deadly truck bomb attack in Mogadishu that killed over 300 people.

Addressing thousands at Banadir football stadium in Mogadishu, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed also called for unity against al-Shabaab, which is blamed for the worst terrorist attack in Somalia’s history.

"Every Somali citizen has to take a gun and fight al-Shabaab,” he said.

“If our African brothers come here to defend us, why not us?” he added, referring to the peacekeeping forces in the country.

"We have $14 million to establish the civil defense force, and government workers and civilians must register," he said.

Al-Shabaab has attacked our dignity, and we must respond decisively, defending our country and religion against them, he added.

He urged people to turn the current national disaster into national unity.

At the end of three days of national mourning, the capital Mogadishu was locked down by angry protesters as the country’s major cities held rallies against al-Shabaab.

According to local media, several protesters were wounded after security forces fired live bullets.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Mohamed said, "Al-Shabaab’s fingerprint could be found on the blast".

“The investigation is still ongoing, but with the help of military experts, we found that over two tons of explosives, including homemade and sophisticated military explosives, were used,” a police officer

Jimirasire

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