Shabaab has claimed credit for a suicide attack today that killed Somalia’s interior minister in his home in a secured area of Mogadishu.
Interior Minister Abdishakur Sheik Hassan was killed after suffering fatal wounds during a bombing at his home in the war-torn Somali capital. A woman believed to be Hassan’s niece is thought to have carried out the suicide attack. If it is confirmed that Hassan’s niece carried out the attack, this would be the first suicide bombing carried out by a woman in Somalia.
Hassan, who also served as Somalia’s minister for national security, helped coordinate the weak Transitional Federal Government’s fight with the African Union against Shabaab.
Shabaab claimed credit for the attack, according to Mareeg Online.
Shabaab has assassinated several Somali ministers in the recent past. On June 18, 2009, State Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden and the former ambassador to Ethiopia were among 20 people killed when a Shabaab suicide bomber targeted them as they left a hotel in the town of Beletwein,
On Dec. 3, 2009, the ministers of health, education, and higher education were among 19 Somalis killed in a suicide attack at a graduation for Somali medical students from Banadir University in the capital of Mogadishu.
Shabaab has also succeeding in assassinating a top African Union commander. On Sept. 17, 2009, the deputy African Union commander and 21 other people, including 16 peacekeepers, were killed after suicide bombers penetrated security at an African Union base in Mogadishu.
Today’s suicide attack is the third in the Somali capital since the end of May. On May 30, two African Union soldiers and a Somali soldier were killed as a pair of Shabaab suicide bombers attempted to overrun a base in a suicide assault in Mogadishu. Shabaab claimed that an American named Abdullahi Ahmed was one of the two suicide bombers killed in the attack. And on June 9, a pair of suicide bombers attacked a port in Mogadishu; the two bombers and two security guards were killed.
Shabaab claimed that its “Mujahideen from the ‘Martyrdom Brigade'” carried out the last two attacks. The claim was made by the Al Kataib Foundation For Media Production, Shabaab’s propaganda arm, and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. Shabaab said the attacks were targeting Ugandan forces, which along with Burundian forces, make up the African Union Mission in Somalia.
“Operations such as these remain a true testament to the weakness of the Ugandan army, undermining the capacity of the Ugandan soldiers to maneuver and settle peacefully in Mogadishu,” the statement said.
Both Uganda and Burundi have sent troops to Somalia as part of the African Union effort to battle Shabaab; currently Uganda has more than 5,000 troops in country, and Burundi has more than 4,000. Shabaab carried out a double suicide attack in Kampala, Uganda on July 12, 2010 that killed 76 people as they watched a World Cup match.
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