15 April 2013

Somalia: Over 25 Dead and 40 Injured in Mogadishu Courthouse Siege

Photo: RNW
Over 25 people are reported dead and 40 others wounded following consecutive suicide bombings.

Mogadishu — Over 25 people were killed and over 40 wounded after consecutive suicide bombings and a hour long gun battle with Somali defense forces, Garowe Online reports.

Al Shabaab fighters stormed the Hamarweyne courthouse where Supreme court Judge, Banadir Court Judge and Attorney General where present. The Al Shabaab agents - each equipped with a suicide vest - stormed the courthouse killing the security outside and making their way inside.

Security in the building briefly held off the attackers before the agents began detonating their explosive belt. Minister of Interior Abdikarim Hassan Guled said that 3 of the gunmen were killed by government authorities during the gun battle.

"There were 9 men who waged this attack and during the attack 6 of the men exploded themselves and the other three were killed by government forces," said Minister Guled.

According to local residents, it was an intense battle as security in and outside the courthouse tried to hold off the Al Shabaab agents. One reporter told GO that he saw 10 bodies outside the courthouse.

Supreme Court Judge Aydid Abdullahi Ilko-Hanaf and other officials who were on the top floor escaped the building by ladder during the standoff.

Bodies could be seen scattered outside and inside the courthouse. Some estimates put the wounded at over 50.

Two Turkish humanitarian workers were also killed in Mogadishu on Sunday. A car packed full of explosives rammed the foreign workers' vehicle killing the two Turks, a Somali woman and child.

Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Ragge claimed responsibility for both attacks in Mogadishu on Sunday, warning foreign workers in Mogadishu.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who made a statement on the gruesome attack on Sunday told the Somali people to prepare for a new war against Al Shabaab.

"Let the Somali people know that Al Shabaab is not an enemy to the government or defense forces but society as whole. They have changed their fighting tactic, and I'm informing the people to prepare for how they would take part in a new fight against Al Shabaab," said President Hassan.

Sunday's courthouse siege was one of the worst attacks to occur this year. The SFG has promised to clamp down on security after Sunday's attack.


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