Thursday, September 13, 2012
MOGADISHU — Somalia's newly elected president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
has been moved to the secure presidential compound following an
assassination bid at his hotel, officials said Thursday.
was unharmed after two blasts went off Wednesday outside the hotel where
he had been meeting a visiting Kenyan delegation, but three soldiers
were killed in what appeared to be an attack by multiple suicide
A spokesman for the African Union Mission in Somalia,
Colonel Ali Houmed, said the new head of state who was elected Monday is
now staying at Villa Somalia, which was still home to outgoing
president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Western observers had said they
were surprised the new president was housed in a hotel -- even if it was
just a few hundred metres from the capital's well-protected airport,
which is AMISOM's main base -- rather than at Villa Somalia.
Somali security official confirmed to AFP that the new leader had been
taken to the Villa Somalia a few hours after the attack claimed by
Shebab Islamist extremists.
Sharif will stay with Hassan, who
garnered 70 percent of the votes in Monday's election, at Villa Somalia
until the official handover Sunday, he said.
Hassan survived the
twin blasts that hit the hotel he had moved into on Monday and where he
was meeting Somalis and foreign delegations.
Two suicide bombers
blew themselves up at the hotel gates and a third was shot by security
forces while the new president was talking to journalists inside the
hotel together with Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri.
The assailants apparently wore security forces' uniforms.
Three soldiers -- two Somalis and a Ugandan from AMISOM, were killed. None of the occupants of the hotel was hurt.
was the first Somali president to be elected in Mogadishu since Siad
Barre, whose ouster in 1991 plunged the Horn of Africa country into
The various transitional presidents who have succeeded
one another since 2000 were all elected in other countries for security
Hassan's election completed a long political transition
process backed by the UN and aimed at restoring permanent institutions
in Somalia and it fuelled hopes that the country might be able to emerge
from two decades of war.
"Yesterday's attack underlines what we
all know, that Al-Shabab still have capabilities and presence in
Mogadishu, and that game is not over yet," a European diplomat told AFP