Africa

Al-Shabab fighters offered amnesty as new Somali president declares war

farmajo Image copyright villa somalia
Image caption Mr Farmajo, centre-left, said terror attacks had become more frequent

Somalia's new president has offered al-Shabab militants a 60-day amnesty amid a declaration of war on the group.

Fighters who gave themselves up would receive training, employment and education, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said.

Somalia has reported frequent terror attacks, and a spate of kidnappings.

The announcement comes as at least 10 people were reportedly killed in roadside explosion in the Lower Shebelle region on Thursday

The cause of the explosion has not been confirmed.

President Farmajo announced the amnesty at a news conference in the capital Mogadishu, dressed in full military fatigues.

"We want to pardon the Somali youth who were misled by al-Shabab," he said.

He also announced a major shakeup in the drought-stricken country's security services.

"Terror attacks have become frequent and all Somali forces are on a state of alert to combat insecurity and terror."

Al-Shabab militants are suspected of a spate of kidnappings of aid workers in the drought-hit country.

Analysts say the new measures aim to reinforce gains made by the UN mission in Somalia, Amisom, and government forces.

It comes after US President Donald Trump relaxed some of the rules for preventing civilian casualties in Somalia when counter-terrorism air strikes are carried out, laying the ground for an intensification of the campaign against the group.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Al-Shabab are accused of numerous attacks in Somalia and Kenya

Senior officers in Somalia's intelligence service and police force have been replaced to prepare for the escalating war against the militants.

Mr Farmajo named a new military commander, director of national security and intelligence, commander of police and a new head of prison forces.

The new president was elected in February promising a "new beginning" for the country.

Al-Shabab - which is allied to al-Qaeda - is battling Somalia's UN-backed government and has also carried out attacks in neighbouring Kenya.

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