9 July 2014

Somalia: Somali Security Chiefs Fired After Attack On Presidential Home

The Somali government has fired its police and intelligence chiefs following the attack on the presidential palace by militant group al-Shabab.

Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed dismissed chief of police Abdihakim Said and national intelligence chief Bashir Mohamed Jama on Wednesday, less than a day after al-Shabab fighters detonated a bomb outside the palace and tried to shoot their way inside.

President Somali Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elsewhere at the time of the attack and was unharmed.

Somalia's information minister says there were four attackers, three of whom were killed by security forces, while a driver was wounded and taken into government custody.

Police spokesman Kasim Ahmed Roble said at least three Somali soldiers were wounded.

In televised remarks following the attack, President Mohamud denied that he had "run away from the palace." He said he is in the residence, Villa Somalia, which he described as "safe and secure."

He said al-Shabab has no power to force government officials to flee, saying "We are not scared by al-Shabab."

The prime minister has appointed Mohamed Sheikh Ismail as the new police chief and Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan as the new intelligence chief.

He also named Kahlif Ahmed Ereg as the new security minister, filling a slot that had been empty for the past two months.

This was the second time al-Shabab attacked the presidential palace this year. The president was not harmed in the first attack in February, but 17 people were killed.


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