Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Suicide Bomb Attack Leaves At Least Ten Dead In Somalian Capital

Suicide Bomb Attack Leaves At Least Ten Dead In Somali Capital

Update 2/8/2012 12:39 PM ET

(RTTNews) - At least ten people have been killed and more than twenty others injured after a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden car near a popular hotel in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu, local media reported citing officials on Wednesday.

The attack reportedly targeted Hotel Muna, located close to the presidential palace. The hotel is a popular meeting joint for Somali government officials and lawmakers due to its location in the heart of the government quarter. The same hotel was earlier attacked by al-Shabaab militants in August 2010, killing more than 30 people.

No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack, but officials are blaming al-Shabaab militants. Authorities have also expressed fears that the death toll in the bombing could rise further as many of the injured are in critical condition.

Al-Shabaab is Somalia's most prominent and influential Islamist militant unit and is branded a terrorist organization by the United States and most of the international community. The outfit is the military wing of the Islamist movement ousted by Ethiopia-backed Somali forces in 2006.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre's government in 1991. Currently, the weak UN-backed interim government set up in 2004 is trying to enforce its authority in the country.

Somalia is currently facing its worst drought in more than six decades. Although some regions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda have also been hit by drought, the situation in Somalia is compounded by Islamist insurgency and acute poverty.

Al-Shabaab militants had withdrawn from capital Mogadishu and surrounding areas in August, following an influx of thousands of famine-stricken people seeking food and water.

Although the African Union peacekeepers and Somali security forces have since managed to take control of the areas vacated by the militant outfit, al-Shabaab and allied groups still control large areas in southern Somalia where they enforce strict Islamic laws or Sharia.

by RTT Staff Writer

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