In Mogadishu ‘Living under suicide bombing and chaotic situation’

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By Hassan Mudane

“Ten government forces died and 14 others were injured in the attack [on the parliament house]. Four MP’s were also injured. Seven of the fighters who attacked the house were also killed as you see their bodies.” said a police spokesman

Saturday morning at 11:30am in local time, a well planned attack was carried out by Al- Shabaab stormed Somalia’s parliament on Saturday.  A spokesman for al Shabaab, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, said that the group’s fighters had killed 30 people. “We killed 30 from the AU (African Union) and from the various forces of the so-called Somali government,” he said.

The fighting continued for hours after the initial explosion, with gunfire and smaller blasts being heard inside the parliament building. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said in a statement that all the member of parliaments who were in parliament building before the attack was safely evacuated. This  attack on parliament building about 300m from the president’s palace that is guarded by African Union peacekeepers and Somali forces, showed that the al Qaeda-linked group remains capable of hunting the center of Mogadishu despite being pushed out of the capital two years ago.

Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Somalia, said: “The Federal Parliament represents the people of Somalia and their hopes and aspirations for a peaceful and stable future. Today’s attack is an attack against the people of Somalia for which there can be no justification.”

A Western diplomat who has worked with regional intelligence agencies said the attack would add to pressure on President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud from about 100 parliamentarians who last month called for him to be impeached over worsening security.

Thus, the attack showed that a surge by the African Union peacekeeping troops had not weakened Al-Shabaab’s capacity to wage asymmetric warfare in the capital, where coordination between Somali and foreign intelligence agencies is poor.

“Because intelligence is fragmented, al Shabaab is slipping through the net,” said farhan, social activist.”

‘Suicide bombing in presidential palace’

 Al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab have attacked the heavily-fortified Somali presidential palace compound, blasting through a gate with a car bomb and engaging palace guards in a fierce gun battle that left 14 people dead, police have said.

Al-Shabab said it carried out the bombing attack on the heavily fortified compound in Villa Somalia. The Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was unharmed and survived at that time.

“Our commandos have attacked the so-called presidential palace in order to kill or arrest those who are inside. The enemy had suffered a great deal of harm,” Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Musab, Al-shabaab military spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

‘Deadly bombing attack in UNDP compound’

Dealing a blow to fragile security gains that have allowed a slow return of foreign aid workers and diplomats, the assault, claimed by Islamist group al Shabaab, began before midday when a car bomb exploded outside UN-Development Programme (UNDP) base. Rebel gunmen forced their way into the compound and fought with security guards.

The African Union (AU) peacekeeping force, sent soldiers and armored vehicles to the compound, said it was under the control of friendly troops after a gun fight that lasted more than 80 minutes.

It was the first significant attack on U.N. premises by al Shabaab since they were driven out of Mogadishu in fighting with AU and Somali government forces about two years ago.

More than a million Somalis live in crisis conditions, according to the UN, which has started building up offices and international staff after security improved.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “outraged by the despicable attack” in a telephone call to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Al Shabaab accused the United Nations of serving U.S. interests.

One U.N. official said some Western nations that had been keen to support the Western-leaning government elected last year had played down dangers posed by al Shabaab and its ability to infiltrate the security forces and attacks the capital.

Who is Al-shabaab?

Al-Shabab means The Youth in Arabic. It emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces. There are numerous reports of foreign jihadists going to Somalia to help al-Shabab, and the group has claimed to be allied with al-Qaeda. It is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.

Al-Shabab: Striking like ‘shuai-jan snake’

‘The skillful tactician may be likened to the shuai-jan. Now the shuai-jan is a snake that is found in the ChUng Mountains. Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both’. According to sun tzu, Chinese philosopher

Thus, Al-shabaab they know how to play in the warfare game such ‘attacks your enemy where his unprepared, neither appear where you are not expected.’ Sun Tzu

What is Al-Shabab doing in Kenya?

Al-Shabab is suspected of links to grenade attacks across Kenya Somali al-Qaeda fighters are accused links to terror attacks in Kenya in both 1998 – on the US embassy – and 2002 – on Israeli targets around Mombasa. In 2011, al-Shabab carried out a series of attacks and kidnappings across the border in Kenya. Kenya responded by sending troops into Somali territory to battle the militants. Since then sporadic attacks have continued across Kenya.  The biggest attack was on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre in 2013 when at least 68 people died.

Analysts say the militants often enter and leave Kenya without being intercepted. Their fighters are said to get medical treatment in Nairobi. Earlier this year, there were riots in Mombasa after a radical Muslim cleric who was accused of recruiting youngsters for Al-Shabab was shot dead.

How much of Somalia does Al-Shabab control?

Although it has lost control of most towns and cities, it still dominates in many rural areas. It was forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011 and left the vital port of Kismayo in September 2012.

The loss of Kismayo has hit Al-Shabab’s finances, as it used to earn money by taking a cut of the town’s lucrative charcoal trade. Although African Union (AU) forces are trying to squeeze Al-Shabab further, the group is still able to carry out suicide attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

Who is Al-Shabab’s leader?

Ahmed Abdi Godane is the head of the group. Known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, he comes from the northern breakaway region of Somaliland. He is rarely seen in public. His predecessor, Moalim Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed in a US air strike in 2008.

Godane, who was behind the group’s tie-up with al-Qaeda and has a hard-line, international agenda, has emerged victorious from an internal power-struggle. His rival, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, is more focused on the struggle within Somalia. He is now in government custody, while several of his allies have been killed.

What is happening in the Somalia?

a woman lives in a town recently recaptured from Al-Shabab Somalia has not had an effective national government for more than 20 years, during which much of the country has been a war-zone.

Al-Shabab gained support by promising people security. But its credibility was knocked when it rejected Western food aid to combat a 2011 drought and famine.

With Mogadishu and other towns now under government control, there is a new feeling of optimism and many Somalis have returned from exile, bringing their money and skills with them.

    However, before the Saturday attack on May 24, 2014. There was a hot tension between some parts of MP’s and the president, Hassan sheikh. The parliament was demanding the president to step down. Now, the situation grew very worry after the Somali national security minister Guled stepped down.

‘We have no military equipment, economic, financial supports and tactics to fight Al-shabaab. Therefore I have decided to give up the office and welcome every Somali citizen can bring the change.’ Told Somali national Radio

‘This new situation may face the Somali parliament breaking down into further parts’ said farhan, social activist

In additional, Mogadishu, the capital has been hit by a series of suicide bomb in the past few weeks, most attacks claimed by Al-Shabab, which was pushed out of the city in mid-2011 but has continued to wage a sustained armed campaign. This raid on Saturday morning was a copycat of a strike on Mogadishu’s law courts in April, when gunmen detonated suicide vests during a gun battle with security forces.

 

 

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