Suicide bomber targets Somali state minister for defense

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Sheikh Yusuf Indha’adde.

A suicide bomber killed four people during an assassination attempt against a top Somali defense official in Mogadishu.

The assassination attempt took place as State Minister for Defense Sheikh Yusuf Mohammad Siad, who is better known as Indha’adde or White Eyes, was traveling in a convoy moving between an African Union military base and the presidential palace.

The suicide bomber targeted Indha’adde’s car but slammed into a bus carrying Somalis instead and killed four civilians, Shabelle reported.

Indha’adde, was not injured in the attack, said there were three bombings, a suicide blast and two roadside bombs.

“The suicide car bomb hit the boot of one of my cars, I was in the car ahead,” Indha’adde told Reuters. “When we tried to assist injured civilians, another parked car loaded with explosives was detonated with a remote control. The third time we stopped to assist the injured civilians, a wheel barrow loaded with explosives was detonated.”

The assassination attempt took place just one day after Indha’adde claimed that Hizbul Islam leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys is a “hostage” to Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia.

“Sheikh Hassan is an Al Shabaab hostage,” Indha’adde told Garowe. “He should put his focus on Al Shabaab who tried several times to eliminate him.”

Aweys is wanted by the US for connections to al Qaeda and has called for further suicide attacks in Somalia.

Indha’adde was an ally of Aweys but defected from Hizbul Islam and joined the weak Transitional Federal Government late last year. The Somali government, backed by thousands of African Union peacekeepers, controls only small enclaves within the capital of Mogadishu, and little else. The South is firmly in the hands of Shabaab.

The Somali government claims it will soon launch an offensive to clear Shabaab from the capital and the central and southern provinces. More than 2,500 Somali troops are reported to have completed training in Kenya. Last week, Shabaab called for jihad, or holy war, against Kenya for training the troops and detaining Islamist backers in the country.

Recent suicide attacks have targeted senior Somali and African Union officials

Today’s suicide attack is the second in Somalia this year, and the 21st in the country since September 2006, when the Islamic Courts usurped control of the government. Several of the attacks have been carried out by American and British citizens who had left their home countries to join Shabaab.

The last suicide attack took place on Jan. 26, when a suicide bomber detonated his vest while waiting in line to enter the Halane medical clinic at the Mogadishu airport, the headquarters for the African Union Mission in Somalia. Seven Somalis were killed in the blast.

The three prior attacks all targeted senior Somali and African Union officials. Since June 2009, five Somali ministers and a top African Union general have been killed in suicide attacks.

On Dec. 3, 2009, a Shabaab suicide bomber dressed as a woman detonated his vest at a graduation ceremony for medical students at a hotel in Mogadishu and killed 19 people, including the ministers of health, education, and higher education, and two reporters. Somalia’s minister of sports was wounded in the attack, and died on Feb. 12.

On Sept. 17, 2009, Shabaab suicide bombers penetrated security at an African Union base in Mogadishu and killed 21 people, including the deputy African Union commander and 16 other peacekeepers. Indha’adde is reported to have provided intelligence to the suicide bombers that allowed them to carry out the attack.

And on June 18, 2009, a Shabaab suicide bomber killed Somalia’ security minister and a former ambassador during an attack outside a hotel in Beletwein that killed more than 35 people.

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