Somalia’s new President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Thursday declared war against Shabaab extremists, offering amnesty to militants who surrendered within 60 days and warning the rest would “face the consequences”.
“I am announcing a state of war in the country and call on the public to stand with the national army to help fight terrorists,” the president, widely known by his nickname Farmajo, told a press conference.
His remarks come a day after a car bomb in the Somali capital left seven dead in a restaurant.
According to an AFP tally around 80 people have died in bomb attacks on Mogadishu since January. The strikes have become a regular and bloody feature of daily life in the capital since the al-Qaeda-aligned Shabaab were forced out of Mogadishu by African Union troops in 2011.
Farmajo, who took office in February, on Thursday replaced the heads of the army, police and national intelligence as he declared fresh war on the Islamists.
“We are very sorry for those kids who have been misled and we are offering the Shabaab fighters an ultimatum of 60 days to surrender otherwise they will face the consequences,” he said.
“I also extend amnesty to the youth who have been misled with the wrong extremist ideas.”
Farmajo said those who surrendered would receive accommodation and education.
“We request you put down your arms and call on you to come out of them and join the development of your people. We promise you will get good care if you join us,” he said.
“We will not wait for the violent elements to continue blowing up people, we must attack them and liberate areas they are stationed.”
Shortly after his election Farmajo offered a $100,000 (95,000 euro) reward for information on those carrying out attacks.