Somalia’s new president survives Shebab assassination bid | Pakistan Today

Somalia’s new president survives Shebab assassination bid

Somalia’s president survived an assassination bid Wednesday, just two days into his new job, when bomb blasts claimed by Islamist rebels rocked the Mogadishu hotel where he was meeting Kenya’s foreign minister.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was unharmed after two blasts went off outside the hotel where he had been staying in central Mogadishu, but three soldiers were killed in what appeared to be an attack by multiple suicide bombers.
“There has been a blast around the hotel where the president was. The president is safe. All the people who were inside the hotel are safe,” Ali Houmed, spokesman for the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) told AFP.
A police officer said a Ugandan soldier from the regional force and two Somali troops were killed in the attack, adding that initial reports suggested it was carried out by three suicide bombers.
An AFP reporter at the scene saw bits of flesh scattered in front of the hotel gates.
Hassan, whose election on Monday was widely welcomed as a boost to the Horn of Africa country’s peace prospects, was meeting Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri at the time of the explosions, a ministry source in Nairobi said.
The Shebab, an Al-Qaeda-linked group which has been waging a bloody insurgency against Somalia’s Western-backed government for five years, was quick to claim responsibility for the attack.
“We are responsible for the attack against the so-called president and the delegation,” Shebab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage told AFP.
The Shebab spokesman had warned on Tuesday that his group considered as illegtimate the UN-backed process which saw newly-designated lawmakers elect Hassan.
“Nothing personal, but the whole process is like an enemy project,” the Shebab spokesman had said.
The newly-elected 56-year-old academic’s predecessors have all survived numerous assassination attempts in the war-ravaged Somali capital.

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