Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Somalia’s militant group, Al Shabaab, claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at the Somali National Theatre, which killed seven people and warned of further attacks targeting the top officials of the interim government.
Somali Olympic Committee president Aden Yabarow Wiish, and a minister were killed during the attack while several journalists from the state-run Somali National Television were wounded.
The UN Special Representative Augustine Mahiga, expressed outrage at the suicide attack at the national theatre during a celebratory event to mark its re-opening for the first time in several years.
The UN envoy said the reopening of the National Theatre was symbolic of the real change happening in Somalia.
“The city is being rebuilt, culture is being revived and hope is being restored,” said Mahiga who expressed his sadness at the loss of life and trauma inflicted on the Somali people.
“My heart goes out to the families of those killed today and the tragedy they have suffered,” Mahiga, who issued a statement from Istanbul, Turkey, where he is currently on a diplomatic mission in aid of Somalia.
The UN envoy said the Al Shabaab should end acts of violence that cause great suffering to the ordinary Somali civilians and completely disregard the value of human life.
Somali leaders and the Somali people should reaffirm their resolve and not abandon the course of peace and reconciliation.
Mahiga said the attacks should not derail the process towards ending the transition.
He said there were significant milestones in the Somali political process on the horizon, which include the adoption of a new constitution in May and the transition to a new government in August.
“Somalia’s future cannot be held hostage to a violent minority who resort to cowardly terrorist acts that target their fellow citizens,” Mahiga said in the statement.
PANA reported that the Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdiweli was addressing nearly 1,000 guests at the theatre when a suicide explosion went off, killing seven and injuring scores more.
The Al Shabaab said it targeted members of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for supporting the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has been fighting terrorism and its threat to impose Sharia law.
“The Al Shabaab will hunt down and execute the TFG officials who are slavishly serving and helping the invaders brutally massacre innocent Muslims of Somalia,” the Al Shabaab tweeted on its Twitter account after the suicide bombing.
An Al Shabaab supporter said the operation was not carried out by a female suicide bomber as alleged by the reports from Addis Ababa after the attacks.
“This operation wasn’t carried out by a female (bomber) as they allege. Everything was carefully planned and orchestrated by a specially trained force,” the group said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron termed the attacks “sickening”.
“I utterly condemn the action of these terrorists who have shown complete disregard for the lives of the Somali people and for their desire to bring back normal daily life in Mogadishu,” Cameroon was quoted as saying.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 4April2012