According to a statement issued by Al Shabaab Spokesperson, Abu Mus’ab, this afternoon’s suicide bomber raid on the Municipality seat, the Mayor/Governor’s office, of the Somalia capital, Mogadishu, was to catch James Swan, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Somalia, at the office.
The UN Special Representative had met the mayor and members of his team earlier in the day to hear first-hand about the progress and challenges in the capital and surrounding area.
Mr Swan, fortunately, had left the premises before the suicide bomber arrived. Not so fortunate were 6 regional and district officials who were fatally caught by the blast, where six of their colleagues, including the Mayor and Benadir Region Governor, Abdirahman Omar Osman ‘Yarisow’, were critically wounded, along with an unspecified number of civilians, security personnel and junior officials in the area at the time.
Among the killed were two of a handful of top female regional and district officials,and Sarah Markeyzi, distric Commissioner of Shanghani, Sabah Abdullahi Assad, the District Commissioner of Abdulaziz, who has taken over the responsibility only on 22 April 2019.
Along with Ms Sabah Assad and Markeyzi, died the District Commissioner of Waberi. Mogadishu, Mahad Elmi, and the Municipal Council Directors of Sanitation and Labour, Abdifattah Omar and Abdullahu Dheere. So did, Attorney Hassan Mohamed Sabriye, a Special Advisor to the Mayor-cum-Governor, Engineer Yarisow.
The Mayor, along with the District Commissioner of Warta Nabadda (Ex-Wardhiigley), Saynab Mohamoud Warsame ‘Haabsey’, Mayor’s Office Spokesperson, Salah Omar Osman, Hamarweine District Commissioner, Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, the Director of the Municipality’s Liaison Office with Districts, Dhega’adde, and the Deputy DC of Kahda district.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, later, strongly condemned the suicide attack.
“I deplore this heinous attack which not only demonstrates a violent disregard for the sanctity of human life but also targets Somalis working to improve the lives of their fellow Somalis in the Mogadishu-Banadir region,” Mr. Swan said of the incident. “The United Nations stands with the people and government of Somalia in their rejection of such terrorist acts, and our thoughts are with the victims of this attack.”
This is the third deadly attack in tow weeks.
The Somalia Minister of Information, Mohamed Abdi Hayir ‘Maareeye’ and the Police Commander, Major-General Bashir Abdi Americo, along with a number of other top officials visited the crime scene shortly afterwards to assess the damage and oversee the mop-up rescue operation.
Earlier in the day, the Islamist fighters rained mortar shells at an area adjacent and behind the Federal government of Somalia seat, Villa Somalia, where residences of government officials and MPs were located. The area was not far from the old 15 May secondary school of Warta Nabadda district whose Commissioner was among the critically wounded in the afternoon’s blast at the Mayor’s office.
Minister Maareeye stated that the government was investigating how such a heavily fortified office could be easily breached to the extent that bomber actually reaches Mayor’s office and conference hall undetected and undeterred.
But then, there are rumours placing the central government right in the centre of the tragic incident accusing very high officials on facilitating the entrance of bomber to the office – a bomber who has yet to be credibly described or identified.