So­mali She­bab kill 10 in ed­u­ca­tion min­istry attack

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

So­ma­lia’s al-Qaida-linked She­bab mil­i­tants on Tues­day blasted their way into the higher ed­u­ca­tion min­istry with a car bomb be­fore storm­ing the build­ing, killing 10 peo­ple.

Po­lice and wit­nesses said the car bomb caused a huge ex­plo­sion which al­lowed the gun­men to force their way into the for­ti­fied build­ing.

“One po­lice­man and eight civil­ians were killed in the attack, and a dozen oth­ers were wounded in­clud­ing a se­nior ed­u­ca­tion min­istry of­fi­cial,” po­lice of­fi­cer Mo­hamed Dahir said ear­lier.

Po­lice re­gained con­trol of the build­ing af­ter around an hour-long attack, which be­gan when “a car loaded with ex­plo­sives rammed the gate,” Dahir added.

Wit­ness Idil Malim said bod­ies of those killed and wounded lay around the com­plex.

“There were sev­eral peo­ple ly­ing dead at the scene,” he said.

She­bab spokesman Ab­du­laziz Abu Musab claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity, boasting that their gun­men had been in “fully in con­trol” of the min­istry, as well as en­ter­ing a neigh­bor­ing build­ing hous­ing the Oil Min­istry.

As gov­ern­ment forces re­took the com­pound and fight­ing ended the fate of the gun­men was not im­me­di­ately clear; whether they had been killed in the as­sault or had man­aged to es­cape.

The build­ing is in the K5 dis­trict of the cap­i­tal, which has been hit by a string of sim­i­lar at­tacks in re­cent months.

The She­bab rebels stage regular at­tacks in the cap­i­tal as part of their fight against the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tion­ally-backed gov­ern­ment and African Union forces sup­port­ing it.

Com­plex attack

A car bomb­ing to force en­try into for­ti­fied build­ings fol­lowed by an armed raid has be­come a trade­mark tac­tic of the hard­line Is­lamists.

So­ma­lia has been un­sta­ble since the col­lapse of Siad Barre’s hard­line regime in 1991, and the coun­try’s new gov­ern­ment is be­ing sup­ported by a 22,000-strong African Union force that in­cludes troops from Bu­rundi, Dji­bouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

She­bab fighters have car­ried out a string of re­venge at­tacks in neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, no­tably Kenya and Uganda, in re­sponse to their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the AU force.

It car­ried out its dead­li­est attack yet ear­lier this month, when She­bab gun­men mas­sa­cred 148 peo­ple in a day-long siege of a uni­ver­sity in Kenya’s north­east­ern town of Garissa.

The attack on the uni­ver­sity was the She­bab’s blood­i­est massacre and Kenya’s worst since the 1998 bomb­ing of the U.S. em­bassy in Nairobi.

The She­bab later warned of a “long, grue­some war” un­less Kenya with­draws its troops from So­ma­lia, as well as warn­ing the gov­ern­ment in Mo­gadishu it would con­tinue to attack them on home soil.

AP

Sol­diers stand near the wreck­age of a car bomb that was det­o­nated at the gates of a gov­ern­ment of­fice com­plex in the cap­i­tal Mo­gadishu, So­ma­lia on Tues­day, April 14.

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