Deputy Minister, Others Killed In Somalia Terrorist Attack

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Five people were killed including a deputy minister on Saturday after Al-Shabaab militants stormed government buildings in Somalia’s capital, a witness and a senator told AFP.

“I saw the dead bodies of four people, one of them in police uniform,” said witness Abdulahi Mohamed.

Senator Ilyas Ali Hassan named the deceased minister as Saqar Ibrahim Abdalla, who was killed separately.

The attack began with twin bombings of the complex housing Somalia’s ministries of works and labour, which were then stormed by the Shabaab.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram: Chad Fires Military Chief Over Death Of 23 Soldiers

Police official Ibrahim Mohamed said the attack ended after police killed four gunmen.

“There were some other casualties including members of the police,” he said, without elaborating.

The attack also left at least 11 people wounded, according to Abdukadir Abdirahman Adan, director of the Aamin ambulance service in the capital Mogadishu.

Shortly after the assault began, Al-Shabaab issued a statement claiming credit.

Attacks that combine bombings with gunmen have become a speciality of the Al-Qaeda linked group, which is fighting an armed insurrection in Somalia against what it sees as heretic and foreign influence.

Earlier this month, at least 20 people died in an attack in Mogadishu which saw Al-Shabaab jihadists battling security forces for nearly 24 hours.


Somalia Security Forces kill Minister

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As PresidentSomalia’s security forces have shot dead a Government Minister, Abdullahi Sheikh Abas  after mistaking him for a Militant Islamist. 

Officials said the 31-year-old was killed in his vehicle near the Presidential palace in Mogadishu.

Mr Abas, the Public Works Minister became the country’s youngest lawmaker last November, when he defeated a former Minister.

The Information Minister, Abdirahman Osman, said several people had been arrested but did not give details.

Much of Somalia is still under the control of Militant Islamist group Al-Shabab, which is affiliated to Al-Qaeda.

Suicide Bombers Attack Peacekeepers’ Somali HQ, Three Dead

Female Suicide Bombers Die In Foiled AttackSuicide bombers attacked the main peacekeeping base in Somalia’s capital on Monday, killing at least three Somali security officers, police said.

Islamist al Shabaab militants, who want to topple the Western-backed government, said they carried out the assault near Mogadishu’s main airport, an area used by several embassies, aid groups and telecoms companies.

One bomber drove a car into a checkpoint outside the headquarters of the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, killing three Somali officers stationed there, police officer Mohamed Ahmed said.

Another vehicle then drove through toward the base’s main gates but came under fire from peacekeepers.

“It exploded about 200 meters from the gate. Civilian buildings were damaged,” AMISOM said on its Twitter feed.

The powerful blasts damaged the front of the nearby Hotel Peace, though there were no immediate reports of casualties there. The burned-out shell of one of the wrecked vehicles lay outside.

Al Shabaab’s military spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said the fighters had intended to attack the hotel, as African leaders seeking a solution to Somalia’s decades-long turmoil had met there last year.

US Strike Kills 150 Somali Militants

Somali MilitantsThe Pentagon said that over 150 Al-Shabab militants in Somalia have been killed in a US air strike.

Spokesman, Captain Jeff Davis, said that the strike hit a training camp where a “large-scale” attack was being planned.

The strike launched on the militants by both drones and manned aircraft, took place on Saturday and targeted Raso Camp, a training facility about 120 miles north of the capital, Mogadishu.

Mr Davis said that the camp had been under surveillance for some time.

The group has said it carried out a string of recent attacks including a twin bomb at a busy restaurant in the Somali city of Baidoa last month.

Also on Monday, the Australian navy said it had seized a huge cache of weapons on a fishing boat off the coast of Oman that was apparently heading for Somalia.

Grenade launchers, machine guns, and 2,000 assault rifles were concealed under fishing nets, a Navy spokesman said.

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, was pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union Peacekeeping Forces in 2011, but has continued to launch frequent attacks in its bid to overthrow the western-backed government.

Al-Shabab Takes Over Somalia Port City, Merca

Al-Shabab-in-SomaliaIslamist militant group al-Shabab has taken control of Somalia’s port city, Merca, residents say.

With the reported development, the city, some 70km (45 miles) south-west of Mogadishu, is now the biggest town under al-Shabab control.

African Union forces who had held the port city for three-and-a-half years withdrew earlier on Friday morning.

The loss is a major setback for the African Union force (Amisom) in its decade-long battle against al-Shabab, the BBC reports.

The governor of Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, Ibrahim Adam, told the AFP news agency that al-Shabab secured control without fighting.

“Amisom forces moved out at midday and the local administration and all other Somali security forces left a few minutes later – and then heavily armed al-Shabab militants entered the town,” local resident Ibrahim Mumin told AFP.

“They have been addressing residents at the district headquarters,” he added.

Another resident, Mohamed Sabriye, told AP news agency that al-Shabab fighters had hoisted their flag over the city’s police station and administrative headquarters.

Al-Shabab Bomb Attack Kills 15 In Mogadishu Hotel

Mogadishu Hotel attackAt least 15 people have been killed after Al-Shabab islamist militants attacked a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Police said the gunmen drove into the Sahafi Hotel compound using a vehicle packed with explosives, before storming the building.

Victims include, a Member of Parliament, the owner of the hotel and General Abdikarim Dhagabadan, who led the 2012 offensive that drove Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu.

African Union Troops and government forces, however, said that they have regained control of the hotel after a fierce gun battle.

The hotel is popular with Somalia’s Members of Parliament.

A website associated with Al-Shabab claimed responsibility, saying that fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked group had infiltrated the hotel after an explosion.

The attack came a day after deadly clashes between jihadist fighters and African Union (AU) troops in the Bakool region near the border with Ethiopia.

The militants have also targeted neighbouring countries, killing almost 150 people in an assault on Garissa University College in Kenya in April.

Britain To Deploy Troops For Somalia Peacekeeping Mission

somalia-britainBritain has announced that it will deploy dozens of troops to Somalia to help peacekeeping efforts to counter Islamist militant.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that up to 70 personnel would join a United Nations (UN) contingent supporting African Union troops fighting Al-Shabab.

Also, up to 300 troops could be deployed in South Sudan over time.

Mr Cameron, who will pledged the support at the UN General Assembly Summit, said that the approach would help curb migrants coming to Europe.

Al-Shabab is battling Somalia’s government for control of the country.

Network Africa: Attacks In Somalia, Tanzania, As Ebola Claims More Lives In W.Africa

Network Africa MAPOn this edition of Network Africa, we look at the Ebola virus as it claims more lives in West Africa with health officials recording up to 25 new deaths.

Oscar Pistorius’s 4 month old trial hits the home stretch, what will it be for the blade runner? Trial resumes on August 7.

Somalia President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, escapes death by the whiskers as Islamist al-shabab militants attack the presidential palace in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

For the first time since 1998, Tanzania experiences series of bomb explosions in the month of July as 8 people get badly injured in a blast at a restaurant in the Tanzanian town of Arusha.

Then hopes stirred again in the rescue of the Chibok girls after over 80 days in captivity as former Heads of State brainstorm on their return.

Kenyans Urged To Watch World Cup Football Games At Home

Uhuru Kenyatta says perpetrators of terror attacks will be held accountable for their actions

As Kenya continues to battle threats from Al-Shabaab, militants who recently attacked the country, the government has urged people to watch world cup football matches in the comfort of their homes instead of in “crowded and unprotected open places”.

The advice comes after two days of attacks on Kenya’s coast earlier this week left more than 60 people dead.

They started in Mpeketoni as people were watching football on Sunday.

The Interior Ministry said that although security had been beefed up across the country, bar and restaurant owners should take extra precautions.

Somalia’s Islamist group Al-Shabab said it carried out the attacks over two days in and around the town of Mpeketoni in revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims

But President Uhuru Kenyatta said “local political networks” were to blame for the violence, as members of one ethnic group were targeted.

Most of the dead were ethnic kikuyus, like the president. non-Muslims were also singled out to be killed.

Kenya Attack: 43 Dead, 150 Injured In Mall Killing

Conflicting casualty figures have continued to trial the Nairobi’s Westgate Mall terror attack, as the Red Cross says that 43 people died and 150 others were injured, while the Kenya government puts the number of deaths at 59 and injured at 175.

This is coming as three lucky women were rescued today but 30 other hostages remain holed up in Nairobi’s Westgate mall.

Al-Shabab says it carried out the attack on the upmarket shopping Centre in response to Kenyan military operations in Somalia.

Kenya state House spokesman, Manoah Esipisu believes about 10 to 15 gunmen are involved in the attack.

The terror group on its twitter account insists that there will be no negotiations with Kenyan officials over the standoff.

Government says that at least 1000 people have been rescued since yesterday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta adds that he is familiar with such terrorist attacks and will hunt down the perpetrators no matter where they hide.

The attack began at about 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT) yesterday when the attackers entered the Westgate Centre throwing grenades and firing automatic weapons.

Saturday’s attack is the deadliest terror attack in the nation since al Qaeda blew up the US embassy in 1998, killing more than 200 people.

UK To Ban Boko Haram, Minbar Ansar Deen

The government of the United Kingdom has planned to enact a law prohibiting association with two extremist groups, Boko Haram and UK based Minbar Ansar Deen. 

The British Home Secretary, Theresa May has asked for the two radical Islamist organisations to be banned under terrorism laws.

According to the BBC, “if the two groups are banned, it will be illegal to support or become a member of either group, to arrange meetings or wear clothing in support of them.”

Offenders could face fines of up to £5,000 (N1,250,000) or up to 10 years in prison.

This is coming after the US government placed a bounty of $7million on Boko Haram’s leader and the Nigerian Federal Government approved proscription of the sect and declared the group’s activities illegal and acts of terrorism.

Boko Haram is led by Abubakar Shekau, who has been declared wanted.

Minbar Ansar Deen – also known as Ansar al-Sharia UK – promotes terrorism by distributing content through a forum on its website, which encourages individuals to travel overseas to engage in extremist activity, specifically fighting, according to the Home Office.

If the two groups are banned, it will be illegal to support or become a member of either group, to arrange meetings or wear clothing in support of them.

‘Potential threat’

The Home Office has not yet offered further information on why it is pursuing the ban of both groups.

Raffaello Pantucci, senior research fellow at the RUSI think tank, said the move indicated that the government sees them as a “potential threat.”

Banning the groups would give the police powers to tackle their support networks.

The UK-based Minbar Ansar Deen’s website has links to Abu Nusaybah, who was arrested after appearing on the BBC’s Newsnight programme talking about Michael Adebolajo, one of the suspects in the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Mr Pantucci said: “Does that constitute a ‘link’, we don’t know. But looking at their website, they seem to come from the same constellation.”

The activities of the Nigerian-based Boko Haram are usually confined to poor, Muslim parts of northern and central Nigeria.

Historically there is little evidence of Boko Haram targeting the UK, Mr Pantucci said.

“Britain’s Nigerian community is 90% Christian,” said Mr Pantucci, adding that Nigerian terror suspects in the UK were “usually Muslim converts”.

However, earlier this year Boko Haram kidnapped a French family in Cameroon. A Nigerian government report revealed the group was paid more than £2m before releasing its hostages.

The Home Office’s move to ban the group could indicate that it is becoming more international, “or leaning in that direction”, Mr Pantucci said.

There are 49 international terror organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000, including al-Qaeda, al-Shabab and Islam4UK.

The latter, previously led by the radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary, was banned in 2010.

In Northern Ireland, 14 organisations were proscribed under previous legislation.

Dubai club sacks Maradona

Former Argentina’s World Cup winning captain, Diego Maradona has been sacked from his role as manager of United Arab Emirates, side Al Wasl after 14 months in charge.

The legendary Argentinian’s position had been in doubt since June when the club’s entire board resigned following a trophy less season.

Maradona, 51, joined Al Wasl in May 2011 and still had a year to run on his contract.

He leaves after a disappointing league campaign which saw Al Wasl finish eight  in the league.

“Following a meeting held by the board of directors of Al Wasl football company held to evaluate the technical staff of Al Wasl under the leadership of coach Diego Maradona, it was decided to terminate the services of coach Diego Maradona and his technical staff,” read a statement from the club.

Maradona, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1986, made headlines in March this year when he acted in a similar manner to Eric Cantona’s famous attack on opposition fans.

During Al Wasl’s 2-0 UAE Pro League defeat at Al Shabab, he is understood to have climbed up into the stands to protect his wife after fans allegedly started abusing players’ wives and girlfriends.

Maradona had been brought in to help boost Al Wasl’s profile, both on and off the pitch, yet they finished 29 points behind champions Al Ain.