7 July 2014

Somalia: Al-Shabaab Suicide Bomber Strikes Near Somali Parliament

An al-Shabaab suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives near the Somali parliament building in Mogadishu on Saturday (July 5th), killing several people including three police officers and two children, Somalia's RBC reported.

The bomber drove the car into a parking area near the back entrance of the parliament at the Sayidka Statue before detonating the explosives, killing himself, three police officers and two children, according to police spokesman Colonel Qasim Ahmed Roble.

The parliament was in ordinary session when the bomb went off and did not disrupt their meeting, said lawmaker Mohamed Omar.

Al-Shabaab, which threatened to increase attacks in Mogadishu during Ramadan, immediately took responsibility for the bombing.

"We killed more than a dozen so-called police members after sacrificial attack at the main entrance of parliament buildings," al-Shabaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP. "We want to tell them that the members of parliament are not safe anywhere in Mogadishu. By the grace of God more attacks will come and continue."

Several witnesses said they saw ambulances taking away the wounded, most of them civilians collected from the scene of the explosion. An AFP photographer saw around 13 wounded civilians, seven of them internally displaced people who lived at a camp nearby.

United Nations Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay condemned the attack.

"I condemn this morning's attempted attack on Somalia's federal parliament," he said. "I commend the bravery of the security forces who lost their lives ensuring the terrorists were thwarted."

"Al-Shabaab have bombed, assassinated and terrorised Somalis in Mogadishu since the start of the holy month of Ramadan, a month dedicated to prayers and peace," he said. "I call on all Somalis to unite and work with the authorities to prevent further attacks and to bring to justice those behind this murderous campaign."

Last month al-Shabaab set off a car bomb at the gates of parliament and then stormed the building while lawmakers were meeting in an attack that left several dead.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Mogadishu port administrator Abdi Ali survived an assassination attempt after his car exploded, RBC Radio reported.

The blast occurred after a suspected al-Shabaab militant attached explosives to Ali's car while he was not in it. Police have cordoned off the explosion site in Mogadishu's Hamar Weyne district and are investigating the incident.

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