New Somali President, Kenyan FM escape Mogadishu suicide blast

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Somalia’s newly-elected President Sheikh Hassan Mahmoud, survived a suicide bomb attack that killed a Presidential guard and four soldiers guarding the hotel where he was meeting visiting Kenyan foreign minister Sam Ongeri, PANA reported from here.

Two cars with explosives drove into the hotel where the meeting was taking place.

“The attack took place as the Kenyan foreign minister was addressing a press conference. A total of eight people died in the explosion,” Awad Ashereh, an influential Somali parliamentarian and former information minister, told PANA.  

He called the attack a terrible incident.

In the attack that appeared to spoil the party in Somalia, which conducted its first presidential, parliamentary and speakers' elections on its soil for the first time in a decade, the militia group, Al Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses said those killed included three Somali National soldiers, one soldier serving the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and a militiaman who was amongst the suicide bombers.

The President was safely evacuated alongside his guests but there were no immediate confirmation of their status.

The hotel in Mogadishu was also used by international journalists who covered the parliamentary vote in which President Mahmoud won a landslide against former President Sharif Shekh Ahmed.

Amid international praise over his election, Somalia’s newly-elected academic, civil society and peace activist, prepared to begin governing against a backdrop of new security challenges.

“The election of the new President and the end of the transition are not an end in itself but he beginning of huge task which the people of Somalia must embark on to rebuild the infrastructure which has been destroyed by decades of conflict,” said Wafula Wamunyinyi, the African Union’s Deputy Special Representative.

Somalia’s immediate past Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohammed was with the new President during the meeting.

The attack at the Jazeera hotel, near the Aden Duale International airport, emphasizes the potent nature of the militant group, Al Shabaab after facing months of intensified military action from AMISOM.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 12Sept2012

12 september 2012 15:46:11

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