Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Somalia: Somali Parliament Attack Kills At Least 18

Photo: Trust.Org
Terror group Al-Shabaab have attacked Somali parliament (file photo)

Al-Shabab militants stormed Somalia's parliament building Saturday in a bomb and gun attack that killed at least 18 people, including some of the attackers.

Police spokesman Kasim Ahmed Roble told VOA Somali Service 10 security officers with Somali forces and AMISOM were among those killed during the attack on the heavily-fortified building in Mogadishu. He said 14 security personnel were wounded, along with four lawmakers.

Ahmed Roble said at least eight of the attackers were killed.

Witnesses say lawmakers were meeting inside the building when a car bomb exploded near the entrance. Then came more blasts and gunfire from attackers wearing suicide vests. An ensuing gun fight lasted for hours.

One member of parliament, defense committee chairman Hussein Arab Isse, said there was advance warning about the attack from Somalia's internal security committee, which called for tighter security. However, he said the report apparently "was not taken seriously."

Somali state-run radio reported the country's National Security Minister, Abdikarim Hussein Guled, resigned hours after the attack.

Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed condemned the attack, which he said showed that terrorists are "against all Somalis." He said such "cowardly, despicable" acts are not "a demonstration of the true Islamic faith."

The prime minister applauded the "swift response" from Somalia's military and security units from AMISOM, the African Union force in Somalia.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence and said there could be no justification for such attacks.

Al-Shabab at one point held large parts of Somalia, but was pushed out of major cities by the AU forces and Somali government.

The group has continued to carry out attacks, including a February assault on the presidential palace in Mogadishu that left at least 17 people dead.

The United States condemned the attack, calling it "cowardly" and a "heinous act of terrorism." A State Department release said the U.S. continues to stand firmly with the Somali government and international partners supporting Somali efforts against the al-Qaida linked al-Shabab.

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InFocus

Al-Shabaab Attacks Somali Parliament

Terror group Al-Shabaab have attacked Somali parliament (file photo)

At least 18 people have been reported dead and several others injured following a bomb and gun attack at the parliament building on Saturday. Read more »