Somali president, Kenyan FM escape bomb attack

MOGADISHU Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:05am EDT

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MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the visiting Kenyan foreign minister escaped unharmed on Wednesday from an apparent suicide bomb attack on a Mogadishu hotel where they were holding a news conference, witnesses said.

The attack, in which two explosions shook the Somali capital, underscored the huge security challenges facing Mohamud after the first presidential vote in Somalia in decades which raised hopes for change after 20 years of violent anarchy.

A Reuters witness said two bodies could be seen outside the hotel, one of whom appeared to be a suicide bomber, and there was a large crater in the road.

Mohamud and Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri continued the news conference for several minutes after the blasts.

"First and foremost we will address the security issue. Priority number one is security and priority number two and priority number three," Mohamud said moments after the blasts.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. On Tuesday, however, al Qaeda-linked Somali militants branded Mohamud a "traitor" and vowed to continue their jihad against a government they say serves only Western interests.

Mohamud's election by Somali lawmakers was hailed by his supporters as a vote for change in the war-ridden Horn of Africa country that has lacked effective central government since 1991.

(Reporting by Yara Bayoumy; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (1)
TomMariner wrote:
I keep asking every time one of these brutal killers attacks — have we finally had enough of attacks on civilization? Do we decide that until the scum who want to bomb airlines, who blow up civilians and leaders, forfeit their religious and civil liberties? Do we kindly ask that those around these crazed egomaniacs who order or condone or protect them be responsible. Responsible to the point where their country or religion is shut down until they decide to cooperate?

Just asking, because if we don’t eradicate them, there will be no twentieth century travel, no meetings, no publications or movies for fear they incite terror. The last time somebody tried to impose their will on the rest of us was WWII — and that cost 60,000,000 killed, mostly civilian. How far would you go with disciplining a country or a religion to avoid that? And this time, the bad guys are going to have nukes!

Sep 12, 2012 4:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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