Al-Shabab’s “bloodthirstiness” campaign against the United States and its allies is a “staggering waste of resources”, the UN chief has said.
Speaking to the United Nations Security Council, Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to avoid a repeat of last month’s bloody assault on Mogadishu, in which hundreds were killed, including women and children.
Al-shabab has said it is not seeking revenge against the US and its ally, Kenya, but has called for a global “resurgence” to defeat the group, which has gained momentum since it was driven out of Mogadishuk in 2011.
Ban, who is due to visit the Kenyan capital Nairobi next week, warned against “the risk of repeating” last month, when Somali forces launched a counter-offensive to capture Mogadishuka, but said it was important to remember “the gravity of the situation”.
Al- Shabab, a group banned by Somalia’s internationally recognised government, has waged a vicious war against the internationally recognised Somali government, which the group considers a foreign threat.
“The stakes are high,” Ban said.
“In our view, it is important to avoid repeating the mistakes of last year.”
Al- shabab attacked Mogadishak, Kenya’s second-largest city, on January 30 in a major offensive.
It claimed responsibility for the attack on the Kenyan embassy, killing more than 150 people.
Ban urged all parties not to “flee from the reality” and “not to divert resources” from fighting the group.
“Al-Shabbab has been a relentless threat to peace in Somalia, but it is a failure in its approach,” Ban told the council.
“Its focus is not on its own security, but on external threats.”
He said the international community must take a “more holistic approach” and ensure “the world does not lose sight of its security responsibilities”.
The UN has called on countries to “provide humanitarian assistance” to the affected people of Somalia and the African Union to assist the international mission.
Al Shababe denies committing war crimes and has said its fighters are “armed, trained and armed” to fight against Kenyan forces.
The Kenyan government has said more than 100,000 people have been displaced by the assault.
Al Jazeera’s Mark Cowley, reporting from Mogadishuke, said it showed the scale of the humanitarian disaster caused by Al Shabbab.
“It’s clear that the number of people who have been killed is a huge number, and there’s an incredible amount of people in the streets of Mogadhuke, in the city centre,” Cowley said.
Al Sharq Al-Awsat, a daily newspaper in Mogadishke, described the attack as “a massacre”.
“The UN should take action to provide a safe haven for displaced people, including those from Somalia,” the paper said.
The United Nations is providing food, blankets, medical aid, and other relief supplies, but the aid agencies say that is “not enough”.