Al-Shabaab remains biggest threat in Somalia: UN envoy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-04 01:59:12|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Top UN envoy in Somalia Nicholas Haysom on Thursday warned that al-Shabaab remains the biggest source of insecurity in the Horn of Africa country.

"Despite the ongoing operations to degrade the terrorist group, it still has the capacity to conduct indiscriminate attacks on Somali citizens, and target electoral delegates, the Somali security forces and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)," said the special representative of the UN secretary-general for Somalia in his briefing to the UN Security Council.

Two United Nations staff members and a contractor were injured on Tuesday after seven mortars landed inside the UN compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for this attack.

"In no country are attacks against the United Nations acceptable," said Haysom.

AMISOM and Somali security forces operations have succeeded in denying al-Shabaab the possibility of launching conventional attacks, the UN envoy said. "It now relies on improvised explosive devices and targeted assassinations."

Al-Shabaab is a Somalia-based Islamist group, which has split into two groups, with one still pledging allegiance to Al-Qaeda, the other to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Haysom also warned that pro-ISIL elements have targeted business owners using extortion to extract revenue and conducting assassinations in Mogadishu and Puntland in the northeast.

"It appears that the cause of conflict between the two extremist groups is now primarily driven by financial interests," said Haysom, adding that their focus is now on "extortion of so called taxes."