Four Killed In Car Bombing Near Somalia Parliament

People start cleaning debris at the site where a car bomb exploded near the Somali parliament in Mogadishu, Somalia, on January 8, 2020.  Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP

 

At least four people were killed, including a senior government official, when a car bomb exploded close to a checkpoint near Somalia’s parliament in the capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, police said.

A plume of thick black smoke was seen over the city and witnesses said a number of vehicles were on fire.

Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed the attack, after a rise in activity in recent days by the Al-Qaeda linked group which has seen it inflict mass casualties in Somalia and attack a US military base in Kenya.

“Explosives were packed in a vehicle which the security forces think was trying to pass through the checkpoint, but because he could not do that, the suicide bomber detonated it,” said police officer Adan Abdullahi.

“Initial reports we have received indicate four people were killed and more than 10 others were wounded in the blast.”

Bile Ismail, the manager of finances at the ministry for women and human rights, was among those killed, relatives and colleagues told AFP.

“We have indeed lost a brother and good friend in the blast this morning,” Abdiqani Omar, the ministry’s former director general, told AFP.

“He was sitting in the car waiting in line at the checkpoint when the blast occurred and his body (was) badly burned inside the car,” he added.

 ‘There was chaos’ 

Abdirahman Mohamed, who was at a nearby grocery store when the blast occurred, said he saw several corpses.

“I saw the dead bodies of several people, some of them killed by shrapnel inside their vehicles. There was chaos… and ambulances reached the scene soon after the blast,” he said.

Shamso Ali, another witness, described “smoke and chaos along the road, the blast was very heavy”.

“Thanks to God I was a distance away but I saw the smoke and several vehicles caught on fire,” he said.

Mogadishu is regularly hit by attacks by the Shabaab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.

The powerful blast comes after the Shabaab claimed a car bombing in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed 81 people.

That attack, which hit a busy checkpoint in the southwest of the city, was Somalia’s deadliest assault in two years. Scores were wounded.

The Shabaab has also managed to expand its network in the region, especially in Kenya which has suffered several devastating attacks in retaliation for sending troops into Somalia in 2011.

On Sunday, three US citizens died and several aircraft and military vehicles were destroyed when the Shabaab stormed a military base in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region.

Also Sunday, just hours after the attack, police arrested three men who tried to force their way into a British military training camp in the central Kenyan town of Nanyuki.

The Al-Qaeda-linked group has in the past carried out bloody sieges against civilians in Kenya, such as the upmarket Westgate Mall in 2013 and Garissa University in 2015.

The uptick in attacks comes almost a year since the January 15 siege on an upscale Nairobi hotel which left 21 people dead.

In recent statements, the Shabaab has referred to an increase in US military air strikes under President Donald Trump, accusing Washington of killing innocent civilians.

AFRICOM said in April it had killed more than 800 people in 110 strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

AFP

Children Among 14 Dead In Burkina Roadside Bombing

 

Fourteen civilians, including many schoolchildren, died Saturday when a roadside bomb blew up their bus in northwestern Burkina Faso, a security source told AFP.

Four people were seriously hurt in the blast in Sourou province near the Mali border, the source added, as children returned to school after holidays.

“The vehicle hit a homemade bomb on the Toeni-Tougan road,” a second security source said. “Most of the dead are schoolchildren.”

Meanwhile, the army reported an attack against gendarmes at Inata in the north on Friday, saying “a dozen terrorists were neutralised”.

Since 2015, increasingly deadly Islamist attacks in Burkina have killed more than 750 people according to an AFP count, and forced 560,000 people from their homes according to UN figures.

The entire Sahel region, especially Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, is fighting jihadist insurgency with help from Western countries, but has not managed to stem the bloodshed.

AFP

Death Toll In Somalia Bombing Rises To 81

Somali men help to unload a victim, that was injured during a car bombing attack, at the Madina Hospital in Mogadishu, on December 28, 2019.  Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP

 

The death toll from a massive car bomb in the Somali capital has risen to 81, a government spokesman said Monday, as rescue workers pursued their search for the missing.

The bombing Saturday at a busy intersection in Mogadishu was the country’s deadliest attack in two years.

No one has claimed responsibility, though President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed blamed Islamist group Al-Shabaab, which has regularly carried out car bombings and other attacks as part of its decade-long bid to topple the internationally-backed government.

“The overall number of the dead stands at 81 currently. Two more people died from their injuries,” Ismail Muktar, a spokesman for Somalia’s information ministry, told AFP Monday.

One of the new fatalities was among the injured who had been evacuated to Turkey via a Turkish military plane on Sunday, Muktar said.

Muktar said the death toll could climb further as rescue operations entered a third day.

Around two dozen people were listed as missing after the attack, but 12 have been located — five of them dead — and the rest remain unaccounted for, he said.

Some 125 people were injured in Saturday’s blast, a caseload that has overwhelmed health facilities in Mogadishu.

At least 16 of those killed were students from the capital’s private Banadir University, who had been travelling on a bus when the car bomb detonated.

The attack was the biggest to hit Somalia since a truck exploded in 2017 near a fuel tanker in Mogadishu, creating a fireball that killed over 500 people.

Al-Shabaab was blamed for that strike too, though it never formally claimed responsibility — as it often does not do when there is a large amount of civilian casualties.

The United States military said Sunday it had killed four “terrorists” in three airstrikes targeting Al-Shabaab.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said two militants were killed and two vehicles destroyed in Qunyo Barrow, while two more militants were killed in Caliyoow Barrow.

The US regularly carries out airstrikes in Somalia, though the frequency of such operations has risen sharply this year.

In an April statement AFRICOM said it had killed more than 800 people in 110 strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

AFP

Twin Bombing Kills 17 In Syria’s Idlib – Monitor

 

A double bomb attack in Syria’s jihadist-held city of Idlib on Monday killed 17 people,including four children, a war monitor said.

The first blast was caused by a bomb planted under a car in the main city of the Idlib region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

After ambulances arrived at the site, a motorcycle bomb then detonated, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the Observatory said also wounded at least 51, updating an earlier casualty toll.

Idlib, the last major part of Syria still outside the control of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, is held by an alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

HTS took administrative control of the whole of the region last month, after overpowering smaller Turkey-backed factions.

The Islamic State group also has sleeper cells in the area.

A local office of the “Salvation Government”, an administrative body created by HTS, is located on the street targeted by Monday’s attack.

Idlib has been protected from a massive regime offensive since September by a buffer zone deal agreed by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.

But it has been hit by sporadic government shelling.

Eight years into the conflict that has killed more than 360,000 people, the government controls nearly two-thirds of the country.

Pope Francis Condemns Bombing Of Philippine Church

Pope Francis

 

Pope Francis strongly condemned Sunday’s bombing of a Catholic church that killed at least 18 people on the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

“I reiterate my strongest reprobation for this episode of violence who is once again plunging the Christian community into mourning,” Francis said during an Angelus message as he wound up World Youth Day celebrations in Panama.

AFP

Two Killed In Philippines Bombing

Philippines on the map

 

Two men were killed and at least 32 others wounded Monday after a bomb went off outside a shopping mall in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato, police said.

The explosion prompted officers to search the mall, leading to the discovery of another suspected bomb which they destroyed, said local police spokesman Chief Inspector Rowell Zafra.

Scattered debris including items traditionally sold for New Year celebrations such as cardboard horns and gifts, as well as a bloody slipper, lay at the mall’s entrance where the explosion took place.

Windows of surrounding buildings were shattered by the blast, eyewitnesses said.

Investigators could not immediately say what kind of bomb was used or name any suspects.

But Zafra said Muslim extremists who have declared allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group in the Middle East are known to be active in areas outside Cotabato.

The southern part of the largely Catholic Philippines has been rocked for decades by violent Muslim separatist insurgent groups.

More than 100,000 lives have been claimed by the rebellion, according to a government count.

The region has also suffered from banditry, bloody feuds between powerful clans and communist guerrilla activity.

In September and August, bombs went off in Isulan town, 77 kilometres (48 miles) south of Cotabato, killing at least three people.

Authorities said the main suspect in these blasts was the pro-IS Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) armed group.

President Rodrigo Duterte put the southern Mindanao region under martial rule until the end of 2018 after pro-IS militants seized the city of Marawi last year.

Earlier this month, legislators approved an extension of this martial law until the end of 2019.

AFP

276 Persons Dead In Somalia’s Deadliest Bombing

Somalia's Deadliest Bombing Kills 276, Injures 300
A picture taken on October 15, 2017 shows a general view of the scene of the explosion of a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu. A truck bomb exploded outside a hotel at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on October 14, 2017 PHOTO: Mohamed ABDIWAHAB / AFP

Desperate Somalis searched for news of missing loved-ones on Monday after a massive truck bomb in Mogadishu killed at least 276 people and left 300 injured in the deadliest ever attack to hit the conflict-torn nation.

Residents of the Somali capital, while wearily accustomed to regular bombs and attacks by Islamist militants, have been left stunned by the monster explosion Saturday which gutted surrounding buildings and left victims burned beyond recognition.

A statement from the information ministry on Monday said “276 people were killed in the blast… and 300 wounded were admitted at the different hospitals in Mogadishu.”

The government said it had set up an emergency committee to help relatives find the missing, with a crisis centre in the capital that residents can turn to.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.

The group has a history of not claiming attacks whose scale provokes massive public outrage.

Police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP that many of the victims were “burned beyond recognition” in what he described as “the deadliest attack ever.”

Turkey sent a military plane full of medical supplies to Mogadishu on Monday, also evacuating some of the injured for treatment.

The blast occurred in Hodan, a bustling commercial district which has many shops, hotels and businesses in the city’s northwest. Several experts told AFP the truck was probably carrying at least 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) of explosives.

A second car bomb exploded two hours later, injuring two people.

Abdulahi Nuradin was one of many helping friends and family hunting for news of the missing.

“It has been more than 24 hours now and we don’t have any traces or information about the sister of my friend. We can assume she is dead, with her flesh somewhere amongst the horribly burned dead bodies,” he told AFP.

“We went to several hospitals to seek any information but to no avail, the family is now 99 percent convinced she is dead, I saw so many severed pieces of human flesh at the hospitals,” he added.

Saturday’s blast was condemned by the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Turkey and the African Union.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the city would switch off the lights of the Eiffel Tower on Monday night in homage to the victims of the attack.

– ‘Devastation beyond imagination’ –

Local government official Muhidin Ali said more than 100 bodies who were impossible to identify had already been buried.

“The gruesome dead bodies were displayed at the hospitals for relatives but a few were recognised and most of them not at all, the devastation is something beyond the imagination of humankind,” he said.

The previous deadliest assault took place in October 2011, when a truck bomb targeting a government office left 82 dead and 150 injured.

Saturday’s blast, the worst in Somalia’s history, came six years after Shabaab militants were pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union and Somali troops.

While they were also pushed out of major towns across southern Somalia the militants still control rural areas and launch attacks on military, government and civilian targets in Somalia, as well as terrorist raids in neighbouring Kenya.

According to the Nairobi-based Sahan thinktank, at least 723 people were killed and over 1,000 injured in bomb attacks in 2016 in Somalia.

– ‘Targeting innocent people’ –

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, declared three days of mourning as he visited the attack site and then met with some of the wounded at a nearby hospital.

“Today’s incident was a horrible attack carried out by Al-Shabaab against innocent civilians that was not aimed at specific Somali government targets,” he said in a televised address to the nation.

“This shows how these violent elements are ruthlessly and indiscriminately targeting innocent people.”

Mogadishu’s mayor, Tabid Abdi Mohamed, also visited those wounded in the blast and said the horror of the attack was “unspeakable”.

“There is no tragedy worse than when someone comes to the dead body of their relative and cannot recognise them.”

Hundreds of people, chanting anti-violence slogans and wearing red or white bandanas around their heads in a show of grief, took to the streets of Mogadishu on Sunday to condemn the deadly attack that has shocked Somalians.

“We have seen what the terrorists can mercilessly do by shedding the blood of innocent civilians,” the mayor told the protesters after they ended their march at a square in southern Mogadishu. “We need to stand united against them”.

The devastation caused was widespread. Muhidin Ali, a Mogadishu resident who was close by at the time said it was, “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area.”

Security officials said hundreds of people had been in the area at the time of the blast, with police saying it was difficult to get a precise number of victims because the bodies had been taken to different medical centres while others had been taken directly by their relatives for burial.

AFP

Pope Francis Condemns Fatal Bomb Attack In Syria

Pope Francis Condemns Fatal Bomb Attack In SyriaPope Francis has condemned Saturday’s deadly bomb attack on a bus convoy in Syria.

In his Easter message delivered to thousands of pilgrims who gathered in St. Peters Square at the Vatican, he said the bombing which killed more than 100 people near the city of Aleppo, was “the latest vile attack on fleeing refugees”.

The pope, who also spoke against terrorism and corruption, expressed hope that God would send succor to the people of Syria.

“May God in a particular way, sustain the efforts of those who are actively working to bring healing and comfort to the civilian population of Syria, the beloved and martyred Syria, who are victims of a war that does not cease to sow horror and death,” he said.

At an earlier vigil, he spoke of migrants’ pain, and criticised “paralysing and barren bureaucracies that stand in the way of change”.

Meanwhile, Coptic churches in Egypt also marked Easter after last week’s attack claimed by Islamic State militants, left 45 people dead.

Berlin Attack: Tunisian Security Arrest Amri’s Nephew

Berlin Attack, Tunisian Security, Anis amriTunisian security forces have arrested the nephew of Berlin market attacker, Anis Amri, and two other suspects, officials say.

The Tunisian Interior Ministry, said the three, aged between 18 and 27, were members of a “terrorist cell”, and that they were detained on Friday.

This followed a lorry attack on Monday, on a Christmas market, which left 12 people dead and 49 injured.

Tunisian-born Amri, 24, was shot dead by police in the Italian city of Milan in the early hours of Friday.

German authorities said fingerprints they provided, confirmed the dead man was Amri.

DSS Arrests Perpetrators Of April 14 Nyanya Bombing

DSS on Nyanya BombingThe Department of State Service, DSS, has arrested five men for the April 14 bombing of Nyanya Park in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

The DSS has also declared wanted one Rufai Abubakar Tsiga and Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche for allegedly masterminding the bombing.

Addressing a media briefing at the service headquarters in Abuja, the spokesperson of the service, Marilyn Ogar, while revealing the identities of those arrested, also revealed details of past encounters with one of those declared wanted.

She said: “It is noteworthy that the UK born Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, with Service Number 95/104 deserted the Nigerian Army in 2006. He served in the Intelligence Unit of the Nigerian Army between 2001 and 2006 and was posted to the Nigerian Defense Academy in 2006, but rather than reporting at the academy, he deserted.

“Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche was arrested by this service (DSS) on 12th November 2011 at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja on his arrival from the United Kingdom for suspected involvement in terrorism related activities, but was released on bail on 15th October 2012 to his father, a retired Colonel, Agene Ogwuche, following intense pressure from human rights activists who alleged human rights violation.”

She further stated that “Nigerian security forces shall not rest on their oars until every individual or group of persons involved in the Nyanya bombings are brought to book.”

Those arrested are Ahmad Rufai Abubakar, Muhammadu Sani Ishaq, Adamu Yusuf, Yau Saidu and Anas Isah.

The service, in addition, also announced a reward of 25million Naira for anybody with useful information on their whereabouts.

A bomb went off during morning rush hour on April 14 2014 at the Nyanya motor park Abuja, killing 75 people, injuring several others.

 

Suspects Linked To Borno Mosque Attack Arrested

The Nigeria military says 17 militants behind last Sunday’s attack in Konduga village, Borno state where dozens of Muslim worshippers were killed have been arrested.

At least 44 people have been shot dead at a mosque in north-eastern Nigeria, officials in Borno state say.

According to residents,men dressed in military camouflage arrived in Konduga town on Sunday morning, shooting and hacking to death dozens of people returning from morning prayers.

Spokesman for the military, Brigadier Chris Olukolade told Channels Television in Abuja that the militants were nabbed on the day of the attack.

He said efforts are being made to track down more perpetrators of the attack.

Brigadier olukolade also said patrols have been stepped up on land and air , that the number of troops on patrols in rural areas have also been increased to prevent a reoccurrence.

Iraq Bomber Hits Iranian Pilgrims, At Least Nine Dead

A suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying Iranian Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims in Iraq on Friday, killing at least nine people in an attack likely carried out by Sunni Muslim insurgents trying to ignite sectarian conflict.

Al Qaeda’s local wing and other Sunni insurgents have been on the offensive since the start of the year in an attempt – spurred in part by the mainly Sunni rebellion in neighboring Syria – to provoke the kind of Shi’ite-Sunni bloodshed that killed thousands in Iraq in 2006-2007.

Police said that in Friday’s attack in Muqdadiya, 80 km northeast of Baghdad, the bomber targeted a convoy of three buses carrying Iranian pilgrims, who often visit Iraq’s Shi’ite shrines in the south of the country. At least nine people were killed and 27 wounded, according to police.

“When the buses passed, a white car driving very fast came out of an alley way and hit the second bus, and I saw that bus burst into flames,” said Ahmed Ferhan, an Iraqi man injured in the blasts.

An official with Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization told the semi-official Fars news agency that based on preliminary information, 16 Iranians had been killed and 44 wounded in the attack.

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in attacks in Iraq since April, the highest toll in five years, in surging violence that could tip the country back into all-out inter-communal war.