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UN Envoy condemns attack on Somali Interior Minister

Friday, March 27, 2009

NAIROBI, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has strongly condemned those responsible for the roadside blast which wounded Somalia's Interior Minister, Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, and killed one of his assistants.

"I am shocked by this attack on the Interior Minister and his entourage," Ould-Abdallah said in a statement issued late Friday.

"The Minister was walking in a populated area in Bakara Market. This is a cowardly act which has been widely condemned inside and outside Somalia."

The Thursday's attack on Omar is the latest reminder of the challenges Somalia's new government faces in restoring security to the country.

Omar was attacked in the city's busy Bakara Market. He escaped with an injured leg, but one of his guards was killed.

No one has claimed responsibility, but Islamist insurgents opposed to the government have launched sporadic attacks on government troops and African Union peacekeepers in the capital.

"Those who carried out the attack clearly know there is absolutely no justification and that is why they have not made themselves known. They previously claimed to be fighting to get the Ethiopian troops out of Somalia and now they have turned against their own people," said Ould-Abdallah.

The UN envoy said the new administration led by President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was working hard to improve security, raise resources and help Somalis lead a normal life like people in other African countries.
"Attacks such as these are clearly aimed at trying to stain the country's reputation. However the new government has the support of the majority of Somalis as well as the international community. The country is on the road towards peace and will not be thrown off course by these actions."

Source: Xinhua, March 27, 2009