Somalia: Regional president escapes unhurt from attack, tribal elder killed
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia’s HirShabelle state President escaped unhurt from an attack on his military-escorted motorcade on Thursday with authorities confirming the ambush was carried out by local armed residents.
The incident was preceded by a heavy gunfight at El-Gaal village in the Hiran region within central Somalia. HirShabelle President Mohamed Abdi Waare's convoy came under attack prompting both sides to open fire, officials said.
According to reports, the armed fighters were tribal militia opposed to the administration of Waare for plans to name Jawil as a district. The incident happened when the presidential convoy was moving from the village to the flood-prone Beledweyne within HirShabelle, officials added.
The regional leader escaped the attack unhurt and arrived in Beledweyne safely, per sources.
'Tribal Elder killed'
Elsewhere, a renowned Somali elder was shot dead on Thursday by Al-Shabaab militants in the outskirts of Mogadishu, officials said, in the wake of assassinations and executions by the militants targeting government officers and supporters.
Hussein Mohamed Da'ud was gunned down by the militants who were armed with pistols before they vanished from the scene according to police reports. He was living in the suburbs of Mogadishu at the time of his murder, police said.
Also gunned down was his bodyguard, who also died on the spot due to heavy bleeding. The two were undertaking their daily activities when the gunmen confronted them before firing indiscriminately despite the two surroundings.
'Mogadishu car bomb blast'
The number of assassins remains unclear but they are being pursued by security forces in the Somali capital. Despite being armed, it's not clear also why the bodyguard did not open fire during the incident, which is the third to be recorded in Somalia today.
Da'ud, police said, was among the electoral college delegates who voted the current MPs in 2017 and hails from HirShabelle. Somalia has been using a clan-based model for elections where elders are entrusted with the ability to choose leaders.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the unprecedented attack through proxy media outlets but did not give reasons with regard to the assassination. But in recent months, the team has been unleashing on security forces and those believed to be supporting the regime of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
Despite their violent extremism, the Al-Shabaab has rarely attacked community elders. They are sometimes used in intensive negotiations during crises such as abductions of aid workers among other important assignments in Somalia.
Earlier, Al-Shabaab militants had claimed responsibility following the assassination of a senior police commander within Mogadishu according to authorities in the Somalia capital.
Abdishakur Hussein Abdi alias Jabiri, reports indicate, had a bomb planted in his vehicle before it exploded, killing him and another officer on the spot, in what could raise questions about the safety of the capital, Mogadishu.
Salah Dheere, a spokesperson to Mayor Omar Filish said the bomb which had been attached to the car exploded few meters from the Presidential Palace, which is often targeted by militants in their endless attacks.
"Their car exploded and we suspect the enemy planted a bomb inside. They died on the spot when the bomb went off, it's such a bad incident," he said. "Officers have since sealed the crime scene for further investigations."
The blast occurred near Muna Hotel which is not far from Villa Somalia, the official residence of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, the current leader of the federal government, added the officer.
Mogadishu has been lately witnessing a series of insecurity incidents, something that could throw the current administration into the drawing board. The capital was first seized from the Al-Qaida linked group in 2011 following a triumph entry by SNA and AMISOM troops.