A view of the debris after an attack in front of the presidential palace on February 21, 2014 in Mogadishu. PHOTO | MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB AFP
By Kevin J Kelley
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Somalia’s ongoing recovery will continue to defy the enemies of peace, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said.
Reacting to a terrorist attack in Mogadishu on Friday, President Mohamud on Saturday said the terrorists would not achieve anything with their persistent attacks. (READ: Shabaab fighters in suicide attack on Somalia’s presidential palace)
“My first duty is to send my condolences to the families of those killed or wounded in today’s disgusting attack,” he said.
He said those killed during attack on the his palace in Mogadishu included “people who have dedicated their lives to making Somalia a better place and those who gave up successful careers in other countries and returned to Mogadishu to help a nation on its knees.”
He warned against overestimating the strength of the terrorists.
“I would remind everyone that all our misguided enemies will achieve are short-lived media headlines, here one day and gone the next. What they will not achieve, however, is any noticeable impact on the work of our government as we seek to rebuild Somalia after decades of war.”
“Our mission is very simple but challenging: to continue improving security across the country, rebuilding a federal Somalia and providing the economic foundations for a more prosperous nation. All this important work is progressing well and will in no way be deterred by today’s attack.”
He said Al-Shabaab who are suspected to have staged the attack were on the brink of extinction.
“The military campaign we are fighting with brave Somali and Amisom soldiers will eliminate our enemies.”
FOUGHT OFF ATTACKERS
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mahamat Saleh Annadif also condemned the attack on Villa Somalia.
As people gathered for Friday prayers, a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) went off at the entrance of the palace and was followed by ground Al-Shabaab fighters. The Somali National Army soldiers supported by Amisom troops bravely fought off the attackers.
“I commend the actions of the brave security forces who fought off the attackers, hell-bent on shedding the blood of innocent Somalis. The attack was against the Somali people, their institutions and their religion,” the envoy said.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council said it was “appalled” by the attack.
The 15-member council also saluted “the brave response” of the Amisom troops and the Somali government’s security forces.
Council members added in a press statement that “this and other acts of terrorism would not weaken their determination to support the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia.”
Terrorism constitutes “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security,” the statement declared, adding that “any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable.
Additional reporting by AFP