In Mogadishu, Somalia militants have attacked the Somalian presidential palace on Friday killing at least 12 people, officials said. A militant Somalian Islamist group, al Shabab, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Nine of the killed are reported to be from the militant group.
A car bomb near the palace entrance kicked off the attack followed my multiple explosions and heavy gunfire from militants trying to fight their way in to the palace grounds. The palace houses both the Somalian president and the speaker of the parliament; it is also where their official offices are. Some of the attackers even donned police uniforms, like that of the presidential guards, and suicide vests.
Abdikarim Hussein Guled, the minister of Somalian national security, gave a press conference at the palace, known as Villa Somalia, and stated that among those killed was General Nur Shirbow and Mohanud Hersi Abdulle, the secretary to the Somalian prime minister. At the news conference they also put on display the bodies of the militants killed in the attack, nine in total. Two more were killed in the car bomb, a report says.
Hassan Sheik Mohamud, the Somalian president, is safe and unharmed. He released a statement saying that his work on rebuilding a unified Somalia or improving overall national security will in no way be hindered by that attack and that The Shabab would eventually be defeated. He called the attack an “act of terrorism” however, he added that the group was on the verge of “extinction” and referred to the group as “marginal.”
A spokesman for The Shabab, Ali Mohamud Raghe, confirmed that the group was responsible for the attack. He called the attack “well planned” and the plan was to kill or capture the “leader of the infidels” and that the attack was “successful.” The government has countered them by announcing they will begin attacking Shabab strongholds and areas where the Shabab have strong ties.
In just this past week Mogadishu has been with a series of car bombs, one killing a man originally from Ottawa Canada. The Shabab was once a strong presence in the city but have since been pushed out and ever since they have waged a guerrilla war on the new government. Somalia is still in a fragile state even though it has been over twenty years since the removal of Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre which brought the country to the brink. The new government has been attempting to bring security and stability to the country, however, militants group are posing a threat to that fragile process.
This latest attack by Somalia militants on the presidential palace is a clear sign of their resolve. They want to strike at the heart of the new government to send a clear message of their disdain and want to re-install Islamic rule. However, President Mohamud also has a chance to prove to Somalian citizens that he can protect them and restore peace and order to a much damaged country.
By Adam Stier